Born without hands, this 28-year-old overcame all odds to obtain driving license in southern India

Born without hands, this 28-year-old overcame all odds to obtain driving license in southern India

When Jilumol Mariet Thomas, 28, applied for a driving licence three years ago, officials thought it was a bad idea for her to do so.

She hails from a family of a farmer in Karimanoor, her native village near Thodupuzha in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Jilumol was born without any hands and suffers from Thalidomide Syndrome.

Infants born with this syndrome often show an absent or shortened limbs; causing flipper hands and feet.

Even daily chores appeared insurmountable for her. Despite this, driving a vehicle has been her life-long dream.

“One can either sit and wail about things one can’t do or overcome fear and emerge victoriously. I chose the latter,” she says.

Back in 2014, Jilumol had approached Thodupuzha Regional Transport Officer (RTO), for a driving license examination.

In return, she was asked to bring a copy of the licence of a similar person with a driving license in India.

The transport officials said, “We can’t issue licences to people like you. If you want it, you should first produce another Indian driving licence owned by someone like you.”

After running from pillar to post, Jilumol moved the Kerala high court, which directed the regional transport officials to accept her application for driver’s licence.

“The government officials were concerned about the public safety and spoke against it, but the court finally relented and said if I can come up with a suitable vehicle, it can be considered,” she says.

In 2018, Jilu bought her own car, a custom-built Maruti (Indian automobile brand) Celerio-Automatic.

The car has been built with the transport official’s guidance and with the required alterations.

“It was through my efforts that I bought a car. I had to convince my parents before I could get one. I had moved the High Court in 2018, seeking permission for driving. The Centre has also given its nod to me. Now, the state government has to take the call. The officials were sceptical during the driving test. I have been refused a licence, but I will fight on and make my dream come true,” Jilumol concludes.

Currently, she resides in Ernakulam, Kerala, where she works as a graphics designer for Viani Printings.

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