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Helen Keller - The Salt of the Earth
"Survival of the Fittest." Is it cruel? Does it sound very noble also? Yes and No! It means we are indifferent to the plight of those who are underdogs. Is it not our ignoble tendency to show arrogance - perhaps, select the smallest and oddest of unfortunates for a particular scorn? As an intelligent blind student, my friend, at AMU Aligarh used to say- "I speculate that this is a message to all others to try and "fit in" and is a social pressure built in to our nature to "belong" as the ones selected for abuse are culled."

Let us forget for the moment about "survival of the fittest." We would go for those brave hearts who belonged to the weakest class but enriched the world immensely with their strength of thoughts and deeds. Today is the birthday of Helen Adams Keller - a legend for all times. She was blind but devoted her life to help others. She was the symbol of courage, beacon for the never-ending fight against the heaviest odds.

Very few in the history of humanity could match her grit, determination and great accomplishments. She was blind but she was intelligent extraordinary. She had tried to explore the ways to help those who could have fallen at every step of the darkest and thorny road of life. She was the real Salt of the Earth.

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in 1880. At the budding age of mere 19 months, the cruel stroke of destiny laid had her down with the fatal fever that left her blind and deaf. The curtain of darkness fell when it was the time to play. For parents it was daring test of their perseverance and faith. 

Not much really seemed to be left to look forward. They didn't give up and engaged Miss Anne Mansfield Sullivan to be her tutor. She was almost seven years old. It was full time and open-ended responsibility which Miss Sullivan fulfilled with dedication, patience, courage and love. She was able to evoke and help develop the child's enormous intelligence.

Her efforts brought fruit and Helen quickly learned to read and write. She began to speak by the age of 10. She got admission in entered Radcliffe College when she was 20. During these days, Miss Sullivan helped her to spell textbooks – letter by letter – into her hand. Four years later, Radcliffe College awarded Helen Keller a Bachelor's degree 'Magna cum Laude.'

The blind graduate began her career as a devoted philanthropist – full time back in the service of blind and deaf people. It remained her life-long avocation. She appeared before state and national legislatures and international forums, traveled around the world to lecture and to visit areas with a high incidence of blindness, and wrote numerous books and articles. She met every U.S. president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson, and played a major role in focusing the world's attention on the problems of the blind and the need for preventive measures.

In 1915, she founded 'Helen Keller International' which is one of the world's premier international not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition. The main emphasis of this organization is to understand the causes and extended consequences of blindness and malnutrition. It works for the establishment of affordable and sustainable programs that are based on scientific evidence, original research and an unwavering determination to succeed against challenges that can too often be seen as insurmountable.

In her life, she won numerous honors, including honorary university degrees, the Lions Humanitarian Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and election to the Women's Hall of Fame. She was consistently ranked near the top of "most admired" lists. She died in 1968.

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." ……..Helen Keller

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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