I Invest In My Upskilling: Pralhad Jadhav

Pralhad Jadhav, Associate Director (Library), Khaitan & Co describes his struggle as a person affected by polio and his victories.


Pralhad Jadhav, hailing from the suburbs of Thane, got afflicted by polio at the age of three. However, thanks to a supportive family and his own positive spirit, he has never let his physical condition overwhelm him. Jadhav has been on a high learning curve all his life and has steadily risen up the corporate ladder. In an interview with BW People, he displays that positive spirit in abundance. 


Can you share with us your journey till this point in time? And what has been your inspiration?

It was not easy for me, as a polio-affected person. I got this affliction at the age of 3. Since then, this battle is going on. But my family never gave up. My mother has been the biggest inspiration. She fully backed me in terms of education and made sure that I get good schooling and graduation. After graduation, I started working at the University of Mumbai. I was doing stenography as the librarian at the university. 

But I aspired to go for higher studies and did my Masters's in Library and Information Science at Mumbai University. I am now a registered PhD scholar with IGNOU. In 2006, I got a break in the corporate world and joined as a junior executive, today I am an Associate director. My family and my organisation have encouraged me in every way. 

What are some of the policies and practices of your organisation which have helped you flourish?

They have created different functional areas. They created the library function and gave me a charge at a centralised level. And whenever there is an infrastructure or ergonomics issue for a person with a physical challenge, with a single mail can be resolved. They give utmost importance to human capital and which is why there are employees who have been working here for the last 25-30 years. Culture is the biggest attraction here. Where ever there is any opportunity, they involve you there. That’s how they groom and retain talent. 

Can you elaborate on the infrastructure aspect? How has an adequate infrastructure been created?

I am on callipers and since the washroom didn’t have any support, I wrote a mail to HR and this was taken care of within a few days. Similarly, they changed the seating arrangement near my desk. 

What is the sensitisation done for fellow colleagues, and are there workshops conducted? 

Of course, there are. I have got support from the organisation – from the junior-most to the highest level. And when I won this award, many of my partners wrote to me congratulating me. 

There have been several legal reforms, providing jobs to persons with disability. What further legal provisions should be introduced?

I have never used legal provisions because they have already given everything to me. The rules are already implemented here. But for my fellow persons with disability, I want them to have the benefits like tax exemptions and half-an-hour relaxation in government setups. 

But would you suggest further legal provisions for PwDs?

I know that there are problems at the grassroots, but I have to give a thumbs-up to the government for several initiatives. For example, if a person with visual impairment wants to access a document, he can now access it through an audio file. So, the Indian government is doing a lot, not only in terms of education but accessibility too. But while we have achieved a lot, we can achieve much more as a country. 

What would you say about accessibility in public transport?

BEST provides reserved seats, but there is a lot of encroachment. PwDs are also being provided with a 50 per cent concession on tickets in Maharashtra. At grassroots levels, that concession makes a lot of difference. It enables the person to get an education and stand up on her own feet. 

What would be your advice to persons with a physical disability?

My suggestion is, never to consider it as a disability. Fight for your rights. You have to raise your voice. 

How was it growing up, and what was your interaction with classmates in school and college like? Did they treat you differently?

I wasn’t differentiated because I was also part of their cricket team. And the real motivation to do well in my career also came from my friend. I got inspired by him when he got selected for an MNC with a good package.

You mentioned cricket. So how did you develop an interest in cricket, and what are your other interest areas?

I played in local teams and I am quite popular in cricket, having played the sport for 7-8 years. The biggest moment of pride for me was getting the best catch award in a tournament. That’s how I  became popular in my locality.

I am keen to learn new technologies and implement those in the library. I also train young students in applying new technologies in libraries and in education and research. I spend at least Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh on upskilling. Every year I keep aside that much for this purpose. 

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