Mohammad Khalid was born in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh (India). Khalid had a tough childhood as they were 4 brothers and 3 sisters out of which 3 brothers had visual impairment. While the family tried to get them treatment but doctors from Banaras Medical College misguided the family saying that the vision would improve as the kids grew up whereas it happened the opposite way and their vision kept declining. Khalid was completely blind by the time he reached 5th class and was already hitting into the wall having no accessible buildings in their region and no training being imparted for visually impaired. His father sent him to 3 different Madrasas to try and make him a hafiz (someone who knows the Quran by heart) but he kept absconding. Finally in 1997, he was brought to AIIMS where he was operated for his right eye and he regained his vision a little. The doctors advised that even after getting little vision back, he would not be able read and write. That is when his parents decided to admit him at Blind Relief Association in Delhi.
His family was always taunted for being extremely religious and still having 3 visually impaired in the family. People in villages still feel that visual impairment is a curse of god for all your wrongdoings. While in Delhi, Khalid did his studies diligently and started playing chess. He was a good chess player and went on to play at the world championship in Antalya, Turkey representing India on the global stage. He still holds an international rating in Chess. After completing school, Khalid joined St Stephen’s College and remained captain of their Chess team throughout his college life. While he was winning accolades in chess, he chose to study Bachelors in education at St. Stephen’s because he wanted to be an earning member of his family. Being the eldest, he always felt this as his responsibility.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, he got placement in a school where he taught social science for one year. While teaching he realized that he could still do much more and went on to clear Central Teacher Eligibility Test. But due to some legal issues despite of clearing the test, he had to back out. Khalid never gave up and decided to get into banking and cleared the requisite examination. He then had to appear for interviews with every bank separately because in 2011 there was no system of centralized interviews for public sector banks. While giving these interviews, the question which troubled Khalid time and again was “are you 100% blind?” The answer was an obvious yes and the interview would end there. Khalid kept his struggle on and finally managed to convince bankers at Bank of India to hire him and then Syndicate bank, UCO Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, United Bank of India and Punjab National Bank followed. After weighing all the options, Khalid decided to join Punjab National Bank and joined as a management trainee. He was the first 100% visually impaired to join the bank in the officer grade. All the other visually impaired who had joined prior to him were working at the clerical level. Even the bank did not know what work to give a visually impaired officer and how his training had to be carried out but as Khalid says, the bank trained him well and he learnt finance despite of being from arts background. He was trained at different locations pan India which he completed successfully.
After completing his training, he was allotted a branch in South Delhi where he joined but his chief manager did not know what work should be allotted to him. He finally started resolving customer queries as his memory was like a computer and he could recall any policy of the bank anytime required. While working he realized that for him to function without JAWS ((“Job Access with Speech”) was impossible and that is when he decided to write to the Managing Director of his bank for getting him the same. The General Manager (HR) was immediately instructed and JAWS was provided to him to enable him to discharge his duties efficiently. He finally was able to convince his boss that he could do the work of KYC and account opening through a 2 level authentication process. His quality of work was appreciated by all his staff members and he went on to become a manager and later senior manager. His dream was to manage a branch of Punjab National bank and be the first 100% visually impaired to be a branch manager in any public sector bank in India. He first realized that dream by partially becoming the 2nd in command in another branch in south Delhi and kept working relentlessly towards achieving his dream. He has already served as an officiating chief manager in a branch and is now working as an incumbent branch manager. Khalid is now married and feels that there is no replacement for hard work and anyone can make mistakes including the blind. He says, “I am proud to be blind. I can see everything but differently. Through smell, hearing and touch, blind can see so much more than even sighted people. If you do not make mistakes, how will you learn?”