Think ‘Amputation’ and it gives a vision of extreme trauma. But once in a while, we come across people with lot more will-power than people in similar circumstances. These people go way beyond what is expected of them in such a way that they become heroes for others to worship.
Meet Major D.P Singh, an army man who fought the Kargil War in 1999 at the age of 25 and survived a mortal injury. He lost a leg in the war but not his will to live, succeed and make a difference. He is today India’s first amputee marathon runner and a Limca record holder for running more than 20 marathons. He has acquired the title of “Indian Blade Runner”. He is also a motivational speaker who is trying to inspire millions with his story.
Major DP Singh Injury and Treatment
It was not easy for Major DP Singh to achieve what he has today. Post his injury, he was brought to the hospital as almost ‘dead’. He was revived and underwent hospitalisation for forty days. During this time his weight plummeted to a mere 28 Kg. It was like every part of his body was damaged including his intestines, liver, bladder, ribs, and elbow to name a few. Such was the impact of the injury, that Major DP Singh is still hard of hearing in one ear.
Adversity and Failure a Part of Life
Adversity and failure are not uncommon to major DP Singh. He was brought up by his grandparents because of financial instability in his parents’ lives. He flunked his 9th std exams and later took up a job in a bank before joining the armed forces. Post his injury, his marriage fell apart leaving tremendous physical and emotional scars.
It took the major a decade to recover from the grave injury. To get back to normal life, he played golf, squash, volleyball, and resumed his army exercises.
Even now running with an amputated leg is not easy for the major. Running as an activity requires tremendous endurance and strength. In 2009, he ran Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon with a prosthetic limb. It was tough for him and he finished it in over three hours. Post it, he started bleeding. To prepare for the marathon, he practised how to run and hop alternatively. He ran with his able leg and dragged his prosthetic one.
It took him months to practice to be able to run and hop for 5 Kms. He finally ran two marathons with his hop-run technique. With time, the major improved his timing by 15 minutes in each attempt. In 2011, Major D.P Singh opted for the fibre blade prosthetic from South African blade runner Oscar Pistorius. Today he is the first Indian to run a half marathon with a blade.
Challenges and the Right Mindset
He has to overcome challenges specific to his condition while preparing for a run. For example, it takes him almost 1.5-2 hours to wear the prosthesis and get ready for a workout session. Post-workout, it takes lot more time to recover than a normal person would need. But the braveheart calls himself a ‘challenger’. According to him, for running long distances one only needs mental toughness to get through, disability or no disability. Also, if an amputee could take part in a marathon, then the focus must be on their abilities and rather than disabilities.
Major D.P Singh has the honour of becoming ambassador of Wings for Life Run. The event is a unique one with runners from 35 countries and 6 continents running at the same time from their locations.
Major DP Singh has started an NGO called the ‘Challenging Ones’ dedicated to motivating physically challenged people to lead a healthy life. He loves sports and calls it a great tool to build the correct attitude in people. With the right attitude, ‘ you don’t feel like you are disabled or an amputee’, says the major. His passion for sports together with his army training has endowed him with great mental strength and he has been able to convert his adversity into an opportunity. His dream is to get insurance cover for victims of amputation. He also seeks better quality prosthesis for our countrymen. He is indebted to his colleagues in the war who risked their own lives to carry him to safety. In his words
“It is very easy to QUIT… majority does so… I, however, would like to TRY till last breath, even if I fail. I know it is hard but then I am chosen by God himself for these challenges so why should I bother. Let HIM only worry about results. Jai Hind.”
More power to you sir! Hope you win every battle life presents you with.