Case of Resilience

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Today we bring you an interesting story. It begins in Islampur, a small village in Sangli district in Maharashtra.

The year is 1959, a 12 year old boy is asked to take on the pampered son of the village henchman in a wrestling contest. 

In an upset, the 12 year old boy is victorious and his reward – death threats from villagers who treat this as an assault on the village henchman. 

This forces the boy to hop on to a goods train with money earned from the fight – a princely sum of Rs 12. 
Without his parents knowledge, this boy is now in Pune and joins the Indian Army. 

He takes up boxing and is seen as a rising sports star in the Army. In 1964, he wins a medal at the International Services Sports meet in Tokyo. 

He returns to his base, his commandant arranges for him a visit to Jammu and Kashmir as a reward for his brilliant performance. 

Then the 1965 war happens.

While having tea outside, he hears the siren for an aerial attack. 

He tries to rush back but is ambushed by enemy fire. 
He is hit by 7 bullets – skull, spine, cheeks and thighs and in all this a jeep runs over him. 

Badly injured, he loses his memory too. 

Fighting for his life in an army hospital, he falls off his bed and in a very filmy way, gets his memory back. 

His family finally discovers him. But by then, the young man was bedridden. The family thinks of him as a burden and refuses to take him back.

He plans to commit suicide. 

While waiting for the moment to kill himself, he plays table tennis with a hospital attendant and in a game of stakes wins money. 

The plans to commit suicide are thrown away. 

He is asked by the physiotherapist to take up swimming as part of the rehabilitation.

He soon makes waves in competitions & was selected to represent India internationally.

The great cricketer Vijay Merchant even hears his story and decides to sponsor his training. 

This is how Murlikant Petkar went on to win India's first Paralympic gold in 50m swimming at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics.

He not only won the gold, but also broke the world record. He won the Padma Shri award in 2018.

He turns 78 today. 

Some stories need to be told.

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