For a four-year-old boy, who lost both his arms in an accident, life must not have been a cakewalk. But braving all hardships, Riyaz Ahmad Beigh has emerged as a youth icon.

It was in 1981, when Riyaz while playing with other kids in native Srinagar, climbed a transformer in the colony and accidentally touched the high voltage wires. The deadly current pushed the boy far away. He fell unconscious and was rushed to the hospital with burnt forelimbs.

The doctors had no choice but to amputate his arms. That was also the time when he was scheduled to appear in an interview for admission to the prestigious Tyndale Biscoe School.

“My parents had lost hope of my education but the then principal of Biscoe School Mr JM Ray told them that I will be given admission,” he recalls.

So schooling began. But to learn how to write was one of his first challenges. “I was taken to Army’s artificial limb center in Pune. They equipped me with a compass-like device to write. I would move my shoulders to use it. Subsequently, I learned to write with my right toe.”

Riyaz grew up to excel in academics and sporting activities, alike. An ace swimmer since his school days, he also represented Kashmir University in a national level football tournament.

A 2002-batch MBA pass-out from the University of Kashmir, Riyaz subsequently qualified the prestigious Kashmir Administrative Services exams in 2004. He’s presently the Deputy Director, Tourism.

Satisfied with all what he has achieved, Riyaz feels indebted for the support that he received from his family and friends. “They all never made me feel that I am handicapped, and Masha Allah with the grace of Almighty I grew up to learn that nothing is impossible,” he says with pride in his voice.

Having achieved a miraculous feat, Riyaz has a message for youth: “Nothing is beyond your capacity. If you think big, you can achieve. At least you can try, leave results with Almighty. You may never achieve perfection but in such a perfection you can catch excellence.”