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Spinning to success

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FEATGulshan Kumar of Ability Unlimited Foundation creates a world record for the highest number of wheelchair spins in a minute

AGAINST ALL ODDSGulshan Kumar
AGAINST ALL ODDSGulshan Kumar

In 1992, Gulshan Kumar (18) was administered the wrong medicine, which rendered him disabled for life. However, 10 years ago, life took a turn when he met choreographer Syed Salauddin Pasha. Gulshan, who struggles to walk, has earned a place for himself in the Guinness Book of World Records by doing 63 spins in a minute on a wheelchair, breaking the existing world record of 32 spins.

Gulshan recallsthat his decision to learn dance initially didn't meet with enthusiasm from his parents. “My father irons clothes to support a family of five. He was not convinced at first, but now after 10 years of rigorous training in dance, I workas a choreographer at Ability Unlimited Foundation and support my family financially too,” says a smiling Gulshan, who now anticipates his Class XII results and looks forward to pursuing higher studies through correspondence.

Changing perception

Gulshan is a disciple of Pasha, a recipient of the National Award and the inventor of therapeutic theatre for people with disabilities. A star performer, Gulshan gives due credit to his guru.

“At Ability Unlimited Foundation, we work to change the perception of people towards those with disabilities. People today don't think beyond clothes and gadgets. It is a small effort on our part to change this notion and dedicate our efforts to the betterment of people with disabilities,” says Pasha, who has instilled hope and cheer in hundreds of differently-abled children with his concept ‘Dance on Wheels and Crutches'.

Working with artistes whose conditions range from polio and dyslexia to hearing and visual impairment, Pasha says it takes patience and dedication to serve these people.

Ten years ago, Pasha saw the spark in Gulshan and since then has been training him in Bharatanatyam, Sufi dance and Kathak. Gulshan has performed on shows such asEntertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karegaon Sony Entertainment TV, as well as on international channels such as the BBC and, more recently,National Geographic.

On the months of practice he had to undergo to break theworld record, Gulshan says with a laugh, “Guruji tricked me into believing that the world record I was supposed to break was 150 spins a minute. For a moment it seemed impossible, but he made me go through rigorous practice and I finally managed to do 63 in a minute.” Gulshan has also performed at the House of Commons in London, besides performing to audiences in the U.S., Italy and Nepal.

GUNJAN SAWHNEY

Guruji tricked me into believing that the world record I was supposed to break is 150 spins a minute. It seemed impossible, but he made me go through rigorous practice and I finally managed to do 63 in a minute

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