Whenever he is mocked because of his height, G Shivlal quips with a smile: “I think it’s a privilege that everyone has to bow down to talk to me. How many people have that privilege?”
He is the first dwarf in India to obtain a driving licence. This recognition, however, came after a series of rejections.
Shivlal wanted to be self-reliant by buying a car because travelling in public transport was not an easy task for a man of his height.
Fed up with the discrimination he faced from people in buses and other forms of public transport, he decided that he would drive his own car. But getting a driving licence proved to be a Herculean task.
NO DRIVING SCHOOL
No driving school in Hyderabad was ready to train him. He was turned away by more than 10 driving schools. Shivlal was still determined to drive his own car. He saw hope when he came across the video of a handicapped man driving a car in the US. He travelled to Texas in the US to meet the man and learned about the modifications to be made to a car to support a man of his height. After coming back to Hyderabad, he sought the help of mechanical engineer Pasha to customise a car for him.
After a Santro was modified for him, his friend Ismail stepped in to teach him how to drive. Now it is his dream to open his own driving school, so that he can train others with disabilities to drive.
ACTOR TO ACCOUNTANT
Born in a small village in erstwhile Karimnagar district, Shivlal is no stranger to challenges. Everyone in his family, including his siblings, had what he calls “normal” height. He says that a positive attitude helped him ignore the barbs that came his way.
He has a BCom degree and works as an accountant in a couple of firms in Hyderabad. This was not the first profession that he picked when he came from Karimnagar to Hyderabad. He wanted to act in movies.
In fact, he starred in a Telugu movie, ‘Enjoy’. But offers dried up and he took up accounting. He has appeared in TV shows, and in one of them, he was felicitated by Telugu star Balakrishna. He has also won several accolades from different institutions and earned a place in Limca Book of Records.
‘WANT TO TEACH OTHERS’
Shivlal now lives in Kukatpally with his wife Chinmay and son Hitesh. He is looking for government support to open a driving school for people with disabilities.
“For a person with disability, it is very important that he overcomes his fears first by driving in a safe place. That is why, I have been requesting the Telangana government to provide me an open space where I can teach others,” Shivlal told News18.
He is also teaching his wife to drive, so that she can teach other women of her height.
The aspiring driving instructor said that he receives calls from across the country, asking him to teach them to drive. To everyone struggling with various challenges, he says: “One must never give up. There is an opportunity hidden in every problem.”
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