Meet Shirin, a disabled girl who helps prevent farmer suicides

Continuing with our series related to strong, independent women we bring to you the incredible story of Shirin Tabassum. Even though she is disabled, she has never viewed her disability as a disadvantage. She can do anything that a normal person can.  She has been instrumental in preventing debt ridden farmers from ending their lives. She interacts with them and tells them about how she overcame her disabilities and never let them come in her way of living her life

She has always rejected the idea of depression. She inspires farmers to never give up, no matter what the circumstances in life. Even though she was born with no arms and just one leg, she radiates positivity and uses her life as an example to dissuade farmers from taking the drastic step of committing suicide.

For Shirin Tabassum, her physical disability couldn’t dampen her spirit and will to leave. Shirin, who is a graduate is capable of doing anything that you and I can do. She can use a mobile phone, cut vegetables, write,  and apply mehndi.

In recognition of her efforts to prevent suicide among farmers in Maharashtra, she was appointed as a ‘Chetana Doot’ by her district administration.

Tabassum travels to rural areas in Maharashtra with her father’s assistance, to discourage farmers from ending their lives

Shirin Tabassum hails from Yavatmal district in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Shirin is blessed with a towering willpower and jest for life. And, her disability could not stop her from moving from one achievement to another in life.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Shririn said, “I don’t have arms like you. I have only one leg. For people, I am a physically-disabled person, but for me, I am not. I have observed that people care about my disability more than I do. I was born like this. Did I give up? No, I didn’t. I have not and will never give up. I want to become a collector and this is my story.”

Shirin has completed graduation and dreams to become a collector so that she can work for the betterment of farmers.

Shirin believes that ups and downs are a part of life and everyone encounters the bad patches of life, followed by happy times. On being asked if she ever feels depressed about her physical disability, she ruthlessly rejects it.

“Why should I be depressed? No arms and only one leg do not stop me from doing anything. I do things as any normal able person does. God has given me a beautiful life and I am very happy with the way I am,” says Shirin.

More than 23,000 farmers have committed suicide in the state of Maharashtra between 2009 and 2016.

There have been more than 200,000 farmers’suicides in Maharashtra in a decade, of which 70% being in the 11 districts of Vidarbha region.

In the last few years, Yavatmal has earned a bad name with highest number of farmer suicide cases and one of the major factors behind them ending their life is depression.

Moved by the plight of farmers in her district, Shirin decided to use her story to inspire them and not to give up in life.

“Farmers commit suicide due to crop loss and debt. The heavy loss and financial burden throws them into depression. They see no hope for future and eventually, their depression kills them,” adds Shirin.

One of the leading causes of suicide in India is depression. Stress, pressure and number of other reasons are taking a toll on the mental ability. Teens and young adults are more prone to depression and many have committed suicide.

Shirin began travelling to villages and interacting with farmers. She motivates them to not be disappointed with crop loss and to try their best the next year.

“I tell them my story and how I live. I urge them not to commit suicide and to spare a look at me before thinking about giving up. I ask them if they would want their kids to die like this,” says the young girl.

Shirin further, said, “In the last two years, whenever I find the time I and my father visit different villages in Maharashtra. And I interact and speak with farmers and motivate them not to take the drastic step of ending their lives.”

She added, “The farmers, who have spoken with me say that they feel encouraged after speaking with me and are motivated to approach life in a positive manner.”

Gradually, noticing her district dedication and commendable work, the administration appointed her as ‘Chetana Doot’.

“Since last one-and-a-half-years, Shirin has been working with the district administration as ‘Chetana Doot’. She is a confidant and sharp girl. She interacts with farmers and narrates her own ordeal. She gives lectures to our staff members as well. She has the never-give-up spirit and she is an inspiration for all those who are depressed,” said Rajesh Khawale, Resident Collector, Yavatmal.

Shirin attributes her love for life to her parents, who are her pillars of strength.

Celebrating the spirit of life, Shirin who has an elder sister and a younger brother, is setting an example for those who are depressed and want to end their life.

“Bad phases of life do not hint at giving up. You have to fight it,” says Shirin, adding, “I am not dependent on anyone, and I want every teen to be the same.”