Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Cavas D Tamboli: A Calcuttan with a Different Vision

Cavas D. Tamboli, known to his college friends as Dilip, achieved exceptional heights in his career. He did it without the help of eyesight.

cawas_tamboli Born to a Parsee family in Gujarat, Tamboli lost his eyesight when he was a little more than a year, the result of a fall down a flight of stairs. The family moved to Calcutta soon after.

“There was no technology for the visually impaired. I had to depend solely on the Braille, but I knew what I wanted and I never let my blindness get in the way,” says the 67-year-old man, sitting in his flat at the Madan Khorshed Mansion on Lenin Sarani.

He has recently taken up training in Job Access with Speech (JAWS) that reads out whatever is there on computer.

“Visually impaired kids have so many more opportunities today. With new technology they are doing their MBAs and working in corporate houses. It is amazing,” said Tamboli.

He started his education at the Behala Blind School and then shifted to the Narendrapur Blind Boys Academy and was part of the first batch to graduate from the school.

He applied to Presidency College where he got admission to the English department. It was here that his classmates christened him “Dilip”.

“They said that they found the Parsee name difficult and would give me a name that would make me Bengali enough!” Tamboli recalls.

Pursuing English honours was a challenge that Tamboli welcomed. His aides during the three years of graduation were his Braille books, readers and his proficiency in Braille shorthand.

“It was not easy but I was good at Braille short hand and my classmates would come to me to take notes,” says Tamboli.

Tamboli completed his masters in English from Calcutta University while studying law in the evening. Then he taught at Narendrapur Blind Boys Academy and in Narendrapur College.

After three years he applied for a Fulbright Scholarship and went to do a masters in special education in the US.

“I did not have the required five years of teaching experience but they made an exception,” says Tamboli.

After returning from the US in the early Seventies he joined the National Association for the Blind in New Delhi and was appointed principal of the Government School for Blind Boys in Delhi.

In 2001 Tamboli faced another setback when his son died in a car accident. He struggled to cope with the tragedy for some time. He wanted to retire, but next year came the appointment as director of the National Association for the Blind.

“Even after I retired I don’t have a moment to rest,” says Tamboli, who takes classes for MEd students in special education at several universities.

He is looking forward to living with his daughter in Gurgaon.

Original article in the Telegraph