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Dr. Sushama Agarwal

Being physically handicapped did not deter her from being a lecturer of Maths in Madras University.

Photo of Sushama AgarwalDr.Sushama Agarwal is the first Indian visually handicapped woman to get a Doctorate in any science subject with Functional Analysis as the main area of study.
Born and graduated in Bhusawal Village in Maharashtra State, Sushamas vision started deteriorating at the age of nine and her vision deteriorated further as she was suffering from Retinitis Pigmentosa.
But the much determined woman continued her studies and completed her B.SC Maths without anybodys help. The reason- she never wanted others to know about her vision problem.
Though initially she decided not to pursue higher studies, as she had to travel 30 kms everyday to do PG course, but she was later persuaded to join post-graduation course in Jalgaon in 1982 with the help of her friend and her mother who was her main source of reading and support.
Dr.Sushama came to Chennai in 1988 with her husband, who persuaded her to do the Doctorate in Maths in IIT Madras under the guidance of Professor S.H.Kulkarani.
In 1996, she finished her doctorate and became the first woman to do so. Now a lecturer in Ramanujam Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics in Madras University, she feels that disability must not be the reason for disqualification but must be the credit for her as, in spite of the disability she has come up to such an extent in life.
She strongly believes that physically handicapped must also be given an opportunity to show of their talent to the outside world.