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Beating all odds

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 12. Eleven years ago, Navin Gulia, a cadet at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, suffered a fall during his training that damaged his spinal cord and left him permanently disabled. But what remained intact were his courage and the spirit for adventure.

To Marsimik La

On Thursday, the wheel chair-bound Navin was off again on a 1,200 km expedition to Marsimik La, the world's highest mountain pass at 18,632 feet in Ladakh. For this, he trained himself to drive a car with specially fitted hand controls.

Navin plans to drive a non-stop 36 hours. He did not undergo any special training for the expedition. Since he cannot use his fingers, he will drive with the help of his palm. His aim is to create awareness among the people and the corporate world about the sacrifices the jawans make.

"I want to motivate the society to make their contribution to the country and to think about those who sacrificed their life for the country," he said. "The only thing that can beat the power of mind is the courage of heart and if you have both than nothing can beat you. This accident is lucky for me because I found myself after being disabled."

Maj.Gen. (retd.) Ian Cardozo, vice-president of the War Wounded Foundation said: "Navin has proved that destiny is not a matter of chance but it is a matter of choice. His life is a saga of courage."

Navin works with the Foundation. He has been on other expeditions including one to Khardung La two years ago.

Rehabilitation

The Foundation works for the rehabilitation of soldiers and plans to reach out to all the wounded personnel throughout the country and enable them to make their lives both productive and useful.

It coordinates with major corporate houses such as Indian Oil and Apollo Tyres in providing dealerships to wounded soldiers living in rural areas. So far, 35 soldiers have been transformed into successful entrepreneurs. — UNI

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