Faisal Majeed, visually-impaired, has completed two semesters of his masters in philosophy (MPhil) in English literature at age 26 with a perfect cumulative grade point average (CGPA) from Government College University-Faisalabad.
The results for the second semester were announced on June 28. The third semester will begin in September.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Majeed says he came to the GCU-F in 2008 for masters of arts (MA) in English. He secured first position and completed the MA programme with a 3.63 GPA. He was awarded a gold medal in 2010.
He says he had completed a master’s degree in education (MEd in special education) from Allama Iqbal Open University by the time he started studying for MA English. He says he received his graduate degree from Degree College Jhang in 2004 in first division. Majeed says he was partially-sighted until matriculation.
His mother and sister taught him English and Urdu alphabets and numbers by writing them in large size on a blackboard. “My sister used to hold my hand while writing alphabets and numbers on the board so that I may recognise the shapes,” he says.
Majeed says he was born to a household of modest means in Chaila village in Jhang in 1986. He joined a private school near his home after he had gained some familiarity with elementary mathematics, English and Urdu languages.
“There was no special children public school in the area,” he says.
He says lack of vision is not a hurdle any longer. “I learnt about different things through the eyes of my mother and sister,” he says.
“My studies were helped by computers equipped with speech and screen reading functions. These let me read my course books in English,” he says.
However, he says, he sometimes wishes to read newspapers and books other than his course material and in Urdu language, but cannot do so. “I have yet to find Urdu books in audio format,” he adds.
He says he has a passion for literature, in both English and Urdu. “I remember many poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Allama Iqbal by heart,” he says.
When Majeed is not studying or researching for his MPhil degree, he takes time out for teaching at a school for special children.
“My message to the children is one of hope. I tell them their disabilities cannot prevent them from achieving what they want if they pursue it with determination,” he says.
Majeed says he will continue his studies and pursue a doctorate in English.
Majeed remembers having had a hard childhood. “Our family’s situation deteriorated after my father died in 1990. He had been a school teacher. After his death, my mother took up a job to support her six children,” he says.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.
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