By Arré Bench Nov. 17, 2020
It’s people like Rajesh Sharma who are bringing comfort and convenience into the lives of the differently-abled. Since 1995, Sharma has modified over 3,000 cars to make them easier to operate for those with movement-related disabilities.
A single request changed the lives of thousands of differently-abled drivers when, nearly 25 years ago, Jaipur-based mechanic Rajesh Sharma found his true calling.
Sharma owned a workshop in the city and was known for modifying cars for driving schools. By adding a clutch and a brake for the co-passenger seats, Sharma made driving classes easier for both the learner and the instructor. However, in 1995, when an amputee customer reached out to Sharma to “modify” his car, it was a challenge like no other. Amputation had left the customer unable to control the pedals of his car, making it impossible for him to drive again. Having heard of Sharma’s skills, he requested the mechanic to shift both the accelerator and brake closer together. Doing so would allow him to control his car once again, this time with just one leg. And Sharma obliged.
“That person was my sole inspiration to change the direction of my work,” he told The Better India. Since then, there has been no looking back for this Jaipur techie. “In 1998, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJU), I started modifying the cars on a larger scale. Up until then I had customized just one car but was fiercely passionate about continuing the cause,” he recalled. By 2019, Sharma alone had modified over 3,000 such cars.