Paralysed below waist, this 58-year-old has never been late for work in 32 years

Uma Magare is not only an example for all those able-bodied government employees who shirk work or report late to work on a regular basis, but is an inspiration to all those who keep cursing their destiny for being physically challenged.

Uma Magare
Iron lady: Uma Magare climbs the steps of her office. Pics/Sachin Thakare

Though suffering from Post-Polio Residual Paralysis that left her paralysed waist below at the age of two, the 58-year-old office superintendent has never reported later for work in the last 32 years. Undeterred by her disability, Magare graduated in Commerce and joined the State Social Welfare Office as a junior clerk in 1981. She is set to retire on October 31.

“I have never been late for work. If you check the attendance register, you will find that apart from maternity leave, I’ve hardly taken any leaves,” said Magare, who went to office the very next day after she lost her husband last year. “Does our life stops after losing our dear ones? Is it fair then to run away from our duties just because someone close to our heart is no more?”

Struck early
Explaining the cause of her disability, Magare said, “I was down with high fever at the age of two, but my parents never took me to a doctor. One day, suddenly, they discovered that my lower body was paralysed. I believe that was the time I was struck by Post-Polio Residual Paralysis.”

Uma Magare
Standing tall: Uma Magare in the midst of her daily kitchen chores

Against all odds
Narrating the happenings on the day of her interview, Magare said that a panel from the Social Welfare Department which interviewed her was skeptical about hiring her as a clerk.

“They thought I wouldn’t be able to do the work efficiently. They gave me a dictation test in English and I wrote the entire paragraph without a single spelling mistake,” said Magare. “I proved the panel members wrong,” she added.

Magare struck a perfect balance between her personal and professional life. “I do every domestic chore, even cooking. I used to look after my husband until last year, before he passed away. He was bedridden after he met with an accident about 10 years ago,” she said.

Magare not only overcame her disability, but also set an example by adopting a 14-year-old girl. “The girl was from another community, but it hardly made a difference to me. I took her as my responsibility and today she is living happily with her husband in the US,” said Magare, who has now taken the responsibility of educating four underprivileged children.

Uma Magare
At her office in Camp

Commenting on her post-retirement plans, Magare said she wants to become a counsellor and help parents of children with disabilities to understand them better. Autorickshaw driver Suresh Vadikhaye, who has been ferrying Magare from home to office and vice versa since 1988, said, “Her uncompromising dedication towards her responsibilities is awe-inspiring.

It gives me strength. This is the primary reason that I am with her for 25 long years.”  Vadikhaye not only helps ferry Magare, but also helps her purchase daily essentials.

Distance Uma Magare covers from her residence in Navi Peth to her office in Camp

Number of times she was promoted 

Boss speaks
Showering praises on Magare, IAS officer and Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Bajirao Jadhav said he preponed her farewell as he was supposed to leave the city for work on the day of Magare’s retirement. Jadhav added that he has never seen such a dedicated employee in his tenure and recommended her name for the National Award for Disable Employee of the year 2013.  “She is retiring on October 31, but I’m supposed to leave for Jaipur for election duty on the same day. Since I didn’t want to miss the chance to attend the farewell of my most genuine and sincere employee, we gave her a farewell on Wednesday,” said Jadhav.  

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