Miss Deaf Asia 2018, Nishtha Dudeja Is Inspiring Others To Explore Their Hidden Talents

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

Life isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s a lot more difficult for those who have to deal with physical and mental disabilities. If you’re not one among the disabled, you should consider yourself extremely lucky. Physical disabilities can drain out positivity from a person’s life since their mind can fly into dreams that they feel are out of their reach. Being deaf and not able to speak are among the worst physical disabilities because human beings are social animals who thrive on communication. If you cannot communicate what you want and if you’re not able to understand the people around you, you’ll probably feel like you’re dumped into the endless darkness of silence. However, there’s one person who fought against all her weaknesses and emerged victorious in life — Miss Deaf Asia 2018, Nishtha Dudeja.

Nishtha is the first 100% deaf model from India to have owned this achievement. If the first beauty pageant winner in this category from our country was crowned in 2018, can you imagine how long it took for our society to reach here? It’s definitely not true that our nation doesn’t have eligible contestants. It’s just that very few people make it to the level of confidence and achievements that Nishitha was able to make with the help of her family. Nishtha, unlike many other girls who struggle with disabilities, was born to a family that never gave up on her.

100% Disability Since Birth

Image: Instagram @nishtha_dudeja

One of the favorite memories of every parent would be of the day their dear child uttered the first word, isn‘t it? Unfortunately, Nishtha’s parents never got a chance to enjoy that day. She was born in 1995 to a family in Ghaziabad and her parents discovered her disability when she was only two. Nishtha had issues with speech and hearing and once the doctors confirmed the news, her parents were shattered in despair. Unlike many other parents who have children with disabilities, Nishtha’s parents refused to accept what fate gave to them. They tried their best for the rest of Nishtha’s childhood to help her strengthen the ability to speak.

A 3-year old Nishtha was taken to speech therapy coaching with the help of hearing aids. Even with the help of a therapist, her parents (especially her mother) found it very hard to develop Nishtha’s speaking ability. They took her to a regular school instead of a school for differently abled children as per her speech therapist’s advice. We probably cannot imagine the kind of challenges and difficulties Nishtha would have faced at a tender age. In a society where children are taught to be competitive at every other step, Nishtha was competing with herself and her disabilities.

Image: Instagram @nishtha_dudeja

Nishtha’s parents made sure that Nishtha finished her education on time. As a student, she was among the brightest and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Delhi University. Currently, she’s pursuing her master’s degree in Economics in Mithibai College in Mumbai. Nishtha and her parent’s determination helped her grow into a strong woman who would face all the challenges that came her way with a smile.

The Multi-talented Girl

Image: Instagram @nishtha_dudeja

What many of us lacked or are lacking in our youth is direction. We take our resources and time for a ride and focus on just enjoying life while we’re still young. While some of us can afford to do that, others like Nishtha has to strive harder than ever before to mark their identity. Nishtha was very much interested in sports right from her early childhood. With her mother’s encouragement, she started playing judo at the age of seven. She went on to win many competitions at the state as well as the national level later on.

Even though she was an expert in Judo, Nishtha found tennis to be more of her thing. When she was 12, she started playing tennis and was extremely good at it. She represented India in many international competitions including the 2013 Deaflympics which was conducted in Bulgaria, World Deaf Tennis Championship 2015 in the UK, and the 2017 Deaflympics that took place in Turkey. Almost when she was catching up with the pace of life, she was put through another challenge. Due to horrible jaw pain, she had to stop playing tennis forever. Soon after the Deaflympics in 2017, her physical ailment forced her to say goodbye to the one passion that kept her spirit alive.

Following New Dreams

Image: Instagram @nishtha_dudeja

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going” — this is exactly what Nishtha’s life teaches us. In spite of her initial dream getting shattered, Nishtha pulled herself together and started weaving new dreams. She took a keen interest in modeling and with the support of her amazing parents she went on to become Miss Deaf India 2018. At the international level beauty pageant that was held in Prague, Czech Republic, Nishtha was crowned as Miss Deaf Asia 2018.

Nishtha made both her parents and her country proud with this achievement. She has accomplished a lot more than what a person with no disabilities would have, at her age. Did Nishtha’s story inspire you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Banner Image Credtis: nishtha_dudeja / Instagram

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