United Nations declared August 13 as the International Lefthanders Day, and it was observed for the first time in 1976. This day is celebrated by recognizing the rare, creative and the unique lefthanders who live amongst us and go through daily struggles in a righthanded world. Interestingly, lefthanded people make up roughly around 10 percent of the Earth’s population and must follow right-handed people both in terms of available tools and implementations. Seems unfair sometimes that from cookware to appliances everything is designed for right-handed people.

The Great Lefties

In a world that is predominantly right-handed, there are some lefties who have left behind an indelible mark while few continue to do so. Well, they have managed to triumph over the hardship and struggled a “leftie” goes through. Here are stories of few notable personalities:

1)    Napoleon Bonaparte a French statesman and military leader, who rose to power during the French Revolution and later became the Emperor of France was a leftie. In many war paintings, he is shown wielding his sword with his left hand. Had he not been a leftie, it would have been strange to ‘paint’ him lefthanded. However, the assumption later turned into a fact when historical books and artifacts revealed that his troop always marched on the righthand side of the road so that Napoleon could draw his sword and defend himself from attacks. This perhaps led to driving rules that mandated vehicles be driven on the right-hand side of the road in France. Bonaparte is a perfect example of a leftie who made the world bend a few rules.

2)    Leonardo de Vinci a versatilist who wore many hats. His mind was a beautiful and complex blend of science and art. He was an anatomist, architect, botanist, engineer, mathematician, painter, scientist, sculptor, theoretician to name a few. He was a “leftie” or what Italians call – Mancino.  Leonardo’s use of left hand had come to be regarded as something of a signature, but he was not, of course, the only lefthanded artist in the Renaissance Period.

3)    Paul McCartney who took up bass guitar as a child, often found it challenging to strum with fingers of his right hand. So, he reversed the strings, and the rest, as they say, is history. On the other hand, Jimi Hendrix, a phenomenal lefthanded guitarist used a righthanded guitar, slung it upside down across his shoulder. He was too cool to restring it. Hendrix learned to strum the strings in reverse order.

4)    Oprah Winfrey, famous billionaire and talk show queen of America is also a member of the southpaw club. And since women are statistically less likely to be left-handed, this is yet another distinctive feature that sets Oprah apart from others.

5)    Bill Gates, the Co-founder of Microsoft as well as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a leftie. He along with Steve Jobs and Barack Obama are some of the most famous lefties of the 20th century.

Due to the growing number of lefties in the 21st century, there is a gradual change in the perception of people. In recent years, psychologists have hypothesized that being left-handed is not a sign of an ailment or evil as superstitious people believe; instead it may be a sign of a strong right brain combined with superior creativity and excellent language skills.

Thanks to famous lefties like this, the world has become more open to their fellow lefty citizens. They have helped in changing the usual frown to open-mouthed wonder and nods of silent approval around the question, “Are you leftie?”

Founded in 2013, OurHealthMate (OHM) is a health-tech startup. Their award-winning services are rooted in a three-pronged service strategy: care planning, business intelligence, and quality execution. OHM believes in celebrating diversity and promoting inclusiveness. And they are proud to flaunt their left-hander employees, like Poonam Das (Lead Story Teller).


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