Neeraj George Baby, a 32 year old from Kerala, summited Mount Kiliminijaro (Africa’s highest mountain) yesterday What is fantastic is that he did it on crutches. The champion lost one leg to a tumour when he was just nine years old. Earlier, in 2008, this amazing boy got a gold in Doubles and a silver in the singles competition of the Asian Paralympics cup.
While googling about him, I saw that almost every article was titled “man conquers Kiliminjaro’. Very disapppinted to see that even The Hindu, the New Indian Express, the Times of India all used the word ‘conquered’. Writers, please know that we don’t ‘conquer’ mountains. Any decent mountaineer would tell you that. Our place in the universe is infinitesimally small and nature is far far more stronger. If you have to use a word, go for ‘he summitted it’.
It reminds me of an anecdote. When Bear Grylls summited Mount Everest, he was the youngest person in the world to do so, then. He was later invited by Eton College to speak to the students. On being asked how it felt to ‘conquer’ Everest, he replied “I did not conquer Everest. The mountain allowed me to crawl up one side, and struggle down the other”. It shows the humility of the man, and even more so his respect for nature.
Neeraj George Baby, I am proud to have the same name as you (Err only the first name – Neeraj. I am quite happy my surname is not Baby). Jokes apart, you do the country proud and you are an inspiration to so many people with what you have achieved. All the love in the world to you, to your family and to all those who want to do things that seem out of reach for them.
Click here to read about five inspiring Indian male mountaineers!