Arunima Sinha created History!

What can stop you? Disability or inability? Can your capability to look beyond your challenges help you reach the top of this planet? Find out here...
IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 30th April 2015
Born in 1988, Arunima Sinha from Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, India is a lady who is looked up to for her passion, dedication, courage and strength to fight all odds. She encountered a life changing event beyond which she had to make a choice, and today, she stands as a real hero in front of the world for the choice she made.

Today, when she describes the darkest hour of her life, she is a brave lady who has left every fear far behind. On 11th April, 2011 Arunima Sinha, a former national level volleyball player, boarded the Padmavati Express train at Lucknow for Delhi to take an examination to join the CISF. On encountering some burglars who demanded her gold chain, she refused and her efforts to resist went in vain. Recounting the incident, she said "I resisted and they pushed me out of the train. I could not move. I remember seeing a train coming towards me. I tried getting up. By then, the train had run over my leg. I don't remember anything after that."

This event changed her life completely as one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. On 18th April 2011, she was brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for further treatment, spending four months at the Institute. She was provided a prosthetic leg free of cost by a private Delhi-based Indian company. “These four months made me feel restless as I wasn’t an independent bird now. Looking at my agony over my condition, my brother inspired me to climb Mt. Everest,” she narrates. Although it was the Indian Railways offering her a job, compensation by the Indian Sports Ministry or others helping out to secure her career, she was determined to climb the Everest as she didn’t want people to pity her and urged for a normal and respected life.
Arunima Sinha
On being asked about her views on luck and destiny, she mentions, “Luck doesn’t exist and destiny is in our hands and we can always change it. My destiny had my life on a wheelchair, but I believed in writing it the way I wanted.”

Her resolution to climb became stronger when she looked up to Yuvraj Singh who fought and survived the battle with cancer. Initiating from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi with the basic mountaineering course, Arunima joined the Eco Everest Expedition group in the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation in 2012 and trained under Bachendri Pal who is the first Indian woman to conquer the summit of Mt Everest. “Bachendri Mam never considered me different from any normal person. Under her guidance and training I would often forget about every bad instance. And that’s how she made me feel normal and motivated,” expresses Arunima.

In this phase of life, Arunima marked Mt Chhamser Kangri of Ladakh to the height of 21,110 ft in September 2011 but due to bad weather conditions she had to abandon the expedition 690ft short of the summit.

Just as Arjun’s focus on the fish’s eye, her eyes were focused on the summit of Mt Everest. After everyday training and dedicated hard work towards her dream, she was ready to mark her name on the summit. “The day had come to start my ascent to Mt Everest, and I got to hear the most inspiring words of my life from Bachendri Mam- ‘Arunima, climbing Everest was only your dream when the first time we met, but today, with your power it has grown to be the Nation’s Dream.’

On 1st April, 2013 it was a high time for Arunima. India’s hopes were upon her as Netherlands and USA endeavoured for the World Record of First Female Amputee from past many years. After a hard toil of 52 days, Arunima reached the summit of Mount Everest at 10:55 am on 21st May 2013, as part of the Tata Group-sponsored Eco Everest Expedition, becoming World’s  first female amputee to scale Everest.

Having reached the summit she made India extremely proud for the strength and courage she had shown and brought out a hero in herself. “Challenges aren’t challenges when you’ve trained your mind to be steel strong. The biggest challenge I consider for me was the thousands of failed efforts to make people believe that I CAN DO everything that a normal person can,” she mentions.

According to Arunima there is a moment in each one’s life where they need to make a choice for themselves. Some would take the first and the easiest root of accepting what life wants from them, some might take the second choice to make a living and survive but only those shine, who make the third choice of choosing what they want from life and despite all challenges achieve those dreams.
Arunima Sinha is now dedicated towards social welfare and has come up with a free sports academy namely Shaheed Chandra Shekhar Vikalang Khel Academy for the poor and differently-abled people. She is donating all the financial aids she is getting through awards and seminars for the same cause. She has committed to herself to establish a fully centered sports academy and to bring out many more Arunimas from across India. “There is something in my heart which is inciting me to do something for physically challenged people like me. I want to train them, make them independent and strong through sports,” she says.

The objective of this sports academy is to provide training to people with physical disability and to empower them with complete support so that they can get equal opportunities and full participation in society. Recently, Arunima Sinha was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri award.

“The biggest failure in life won’t be when you’re unable to achieve your goal but it will be when you don’t have any goals. When you have the goal in your eyes, focus on it with all power and strength that all the forces of this world combine for you to achieve it!”- Arunima Sinha.
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