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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Physiotherapist and Research Scholar, ESIC Model Hospital & PG Research Institute- ESICPGIMSR (Under Govt of India),Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore and General Secretary of Bangalore Physiotherapist Network (BPN) 2017-2020

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11 Dec 2015

A Physiotherapy Graduate wins the Miss India Wheelchair Beauty Pageant for Differently Abled

"You just flow with the winds," says a sprightly Priya Bhargava, a Physiotherapy Graduate who won Miss India Wheelchair beauty pageant for differently abled over the weekend in Bangalore.

In its third year, the contest which was held in Bengaluru, provides a platform for differently abled women. It is around this time that Priya, in search of new avenues and to generate hope by keeping herself busy in something new and different, chanced upon the beauty pageant contest on Facebook. With the support and encouragement of her parents and elder sister (married in USA), Priya now wants to clear the UPSC exams.

From a Bachelors of Physiotherapy then Diploma in Nutrition and Health Education twice, Priya finally pursued BCA and MCA through IGNOU in which she topped in Noida regional centre.

Diagnosed with Lupus Erythematosus at the age of 19, a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues, Priya recounted how she had endured several long hospitalisations to treat a damaged spine. It disrupted her studies and future prospects. "I'd enjoyed the luxury of being able for over 19 years. Then suddenly, I was disabled. Skin infections followed. I was depressed but fought back," said Priya, adding how painting, crafts, blogging and poetry helped her overcome depression.

Miss Wheelchair India - a category a pageant is for unmarried wheelchair bound ladies. In its third year, the contest which was held in Bengaluru, provides a platform for differently abled women. "It's a huge platform for people like me to come out and tell the world that we are as normal as the abled and we have learnt how to deal with the problems that we face," Priya told TOI. 

The pageant which is supported by an NGO called S J Foundation under Dr Rajlakshmi S J, also holds contests in category B - for all kinds of differently abled people, category C for married differently abled and Mr wheelchair India (to be held in Mumbai on Dec 20). With the support and encouragement of her parents and elder sister (married in USA), Priya now wants to clear the UPSC exams. One who's coping with her condition constructively, Priya claims to have accepted her situation. 

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