An Indian man has defied all odds to earn a living by using his feet to stitch clothes. His determination changed the views the villagers had on him.
Madan Lal, 45, from Haryana in North India, was born without arms, but that does not stop him from using his feet to make a living. “I was born without arms but that didn’t bother me during my childhood. My grandparents used to take care of me and help me with daily chores,” he said to Barcroft TV.
Though he was well taken care of at home, he faced a lot of prejudice in society due to his disability.
Recalling his childhood, he said, “When I was young almost every school denied me admission because of my disability. The teachers refused to admit me into the school. I was disappointed and thought that I will show them by achieving something. My family couldn’t afford to educate me, and I thought that the government wouldn’t help me either. So I’ll have to do something to survive in this life.”
At the age of 23, he decided to become a tailor, but had a hard time finding someone who was willing to teach him.
“I went to many places and met many tailors. I requested them to train so that I can earn out of it. But all of them laughed at me. They said I could not make clothes without arms. It’s not possible. I can’t ever run a stitching machine. They sent me back to my village,” he said.
Finally, he met a tailor in Fatehabad who was willing to train him. “I went to Fatehabad to learn stitching from a tailor. He initially refused to teach me. He said, ‘You don’t have any arms, how would you do stitching? I said, ‘Just give me one chance’. He said okay and within 10 to 15 days my teacher started saying, ‘You will become successful.’ And I became very happy,” he said.
Within a year, he learned how to be a tailor, and ended up opening his own shop in his village, which had a great impact on his life.
Thinking back on how he felt, he said, “That day I forgot all the sufferings. It was the best day of my life. I saw people coming to my shop to greet me. The whole village was happy, as if they were part of my family.”
However, there were still some people who were skeptical about his skills.
“People used to make fun of me. They never believed that I would learn tailoring using my feet. They would say, ‘He stitches with his feet, he will ruin our clothes.’ Then I slowly started to win their confidence. And then a lot people started to come to me for stitching,” he recalled.
He uses his feet to operate the sewing machine, hold scissors, and take measurements.
“Whatever I have to do in my life, it’s just with my feet. All the stitching work I do with my feet. From cutting the cloth to measurement, I have to use my feet,” he said.
Compared to the past, Lal has since changed the villagers’ views on him after they saw his talent. “Some people said that I could ruin clothes because I stitch using my feet. Now everyone at our village comes to my shop for stitching their clothes. That’s the love and support I got from people,” he said.
“It’s not like the past anymore. I have won the confidence of everyone,” he added.