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‘All I Need is an Equal Chance’: The Story of Wheelchair Mr India

The inspirational story of Mr Wheelchair India Gulfam Ahmad.

Updated
NEON
3 min read

Cameraperson: Athar Rather

Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia

Production Assistant: Amulya Raj Srinet

"A disabled person falls because of his disability, it’s absolutely right. But he always picks himself up because of his ability. So, every time you fall, your disability will fall. And every time you get up, your ability will get back up."
Gulfam Ahmed, Model, Motivational Speaker and Powerlifter

He was the fifth child, a boy. For his parents in the western Uttar Pradesh town of Bijnor, he was special. Gulfam says his parents come from an India where a boy child brings along a lot of joy, he wishes he could tell his parents that it’s wrong. They should be equally happy for a girl child.

Gulfam Ahmad at the Rubaru Mr India Event. 

(Photo: Gulfam Ahmad) 

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This is not a story about the deep-rooted biases in Indian society, it’s a story about how the family’s joy turned into sorrow. In a year's time, after he was born, his parents realised that the one-year-old could barely walk. It was only when the family moved to Delhi that he was diagnosed with Polio.

"Suddenly the joy had turned into a sense of sorrow, burden, and responsibility. Who’s going to take this responsibility? I was expected to learn some skills for my survival. People hardly thought of good things for me, like getting me educated because no one in my family was educated."
Gulfam Ahmed, Model, Motivational Speaker and Powerlifter

The Passion for Powerlifting

At 16, Gulfam, by then a huge Salman Khan fan, joined a gym so that he could have a physique like his favourite superstar. All he wanted was to look good but a chance meeting with a powerlifting coach changed his outlook. Now he wanted to professionally become a powerlifter. Since then he has participated in many national events. He dreams of representing India in the Paralympics someday.

Gulfam Ahmad wants to represent India in paralymics. 

(Photo: Gulfam Ahmad) 

"I am preparing with my earnings. I don't have any sponsorship. There is no support. We are not well off, I have to support my family and prepare for the game as well."
Gulfam Ahmed, Model, Motivational Speaker and Powerlifter

‘I Could Finally Stand’

In 2013, at the age of 22, Gulfam finally decided to go in for a surgery, which would end his years of crawling. It was his girlfriend’s suggestion to which he readily agreed.

Gulfam Ahmad at the Rubaru Mr India Event. 

(Photo: Gulfam Ahmad) 

Once up on his feet, a world of possibility opened up for Gulfam. He started participating in ramp shows, reality shows, started doing theatre, and in few years he won the Mr Wheelchair India title. He has even starred in music videos.

But it is in powerlifting that he really wants to touch the sky, his aim is to win a medal for India.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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