In a commendable feat, 23-year-old Payal Bhattad, a visually impaired student at the University of Mumbai topped Masters in Arts (MA) in history this year.Bhattad, who hails from Deoli, a small village in Vidarbha has scored an overall 78% in her final MA exams, topping the batch of over 90 students at the university. Sources said she might be the first student from any university department to achieve this feat.”I was confident of getting a very good score in the exams and always hoped to top. This is like a dream come true” said an elated Payal. She is now pursuing a BEd at the Xaviers Institute of Education in Churchgate and wants to take up teaching.Payal, who has been visually impaired from birth did her early schooling from Amravati and later landed in Mumbai after passing her class X. She completed her BA in History from Wilson College and topped the college at the final exams with 84%. She later went on to do her MA in History at the University of Mumbai. A national swimmer, a good writer and a poet, she has been an all-rounder with several accolades in her credit.Despite being a bright student throughout topping the exams did not come easy. “I am not someone who can study with the help of audio notes. For me, the whole learning process would involve several stages- downloading PDF copies of reference books, reading them with a screen reader, type it in my computer and then putting it in braille for reference. After all this, I would prepare my own answers,”added Payal.Manjiri Kamat, head, Department of History said that it was indeed a proud moment for to see Payal excelling at the subject with her sheer dedication. “Payal has been an extremely sincere and confident student from the first day.She has never let her impairment come in the way of her learning and has never expected any concessions from anyone. For a student who is visually impaired, excelling in this manner is a very commendable feat” added Kamat.

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Visually-impaired girl tops Masters in Arts History course