Imagine being a toddler and realising that you are not like everyone else around you. That you do not fall under the conventional definition of normal. That you will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life. What would you do? Would you even have the will and determination to strive and fight in this cruel world?
There is one man who has overcome all of this and achieved greatness but yet goes unnoticed. Farman Basha – an Arjuna and an Eklavya Awardee, a four-time Paralympian from Karnataka.
A power-lifter by specialisation, the 47-year-old Basha has spent almost all his life in a wheelchair because contracting poliovirus at the age of just one. While most of us would have even failed to get going with our lives under such grave circumstances, Farman Basha found solace in bodybuilding.
With a diploma in electronics and television engineering, Basha used to compete in bodybuilding competitions being unaware of the concept of Para-sports. It was only after one of his neighbours introduced him to the world of Para-Sports that he shifted his focus towards Powerlifting.
Soon after taking up the sport, he went on to win a silver medal at the National Wheelchair Championships in the year 1997. There has been no looking back since for Basha as he continued to rise through the ranks and represented India in all of the four Paralympics from the year 2004 to 2016.
What is more mesmerising is the fact that he finished in the top 5 in each of his last three appearances at the quadrennial event. While Basha finished just outside the podium during the 2008 Beijing and 2016 Rio Games, he was ranked fifth during the London Games in 2012. Add to this, he is a silver medal-winning performer at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and you know why Farman Basha is the one to be celebrated.
In the year 2006, Basha won a gold medal in competing against able-bodied athletes which led to the Indian Powerlifting Federation banning para-athletes from competing in its events.
With all that he has achieved despite his limitations, Farman Basha should be an inspiration to millions of people across the globe and it is a shame that not many in the country recognise him.