‘Opportunity knocks only once’ is an adage. Millennial generation believes in saying of Milton Berle, an American comedian who says –‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.’
Karthik Sawhney, a Delhi-based visually impaired is the right example for kind of personalities who create their opportunities from the impediments standing tall against them. Karthik’s father owns an automobile spare parts shop in Lajpatnagar Delhi. His mother is a homemaker and has a twin sister and elder brother. Karthik had an innate quest for pursuing science subjects and to become a software engineer. But according to Indian education system, Science is not the cup of tea for blind children. Once Karthik completed his X class, he persuaded his parents to get him admitted to science stream in class XI, but the CBSE board citing the reason of visually impaired person can’t cope up with ‘visual inputs’ like graphs, models and diagrams denied him the seat. Karthik didn’t budge and wrote a bunch of letters to the CBSE controller requesting for science seat. He even took help of NGO campaign to put forth his case. Finally, CBSE agreed and allowed Karthik to pursue science with computer science.
True to his passion, Karthik cleared his XII exams with a whopping score of 95%. His computer score was 99 and 95 in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, and English, with a total score of 479 out of 500.
As reported by India Times, Karthik was well supported by his science teachers in high school at Delhi Public school, RK Puram Delhi. They narrated him about the features of apparatus, and his exams had multiple choice questions.
Karthik’s fight against our education system didn’t end with proving his prowess in XII class as his ambition was to study engineering at Indian Institute of Technology. He wanted to take up JEE-Exams. But Indian IITs do not have a system in place to accept Visually Impaired students. So Karthik was once again denied his course of choice. There is a saying ‘If one door closes hundreds open up.’ Same thing happened with Karthik. Stanford University, USA was eagerly waiting to accept him as its student with a fully funded scholarship. Karthik is currently pursuing Engineering at Stanford University. To add a feather to his cap, he has won an internship at Microsoft Corporation. Heather Eichholz, a software engineer at Microsoft, who interviewed Karthik, praises his talent wholeheartedly.
Karthik is truly a multifaceted personality who has accomplished various distinctions in his tenure as a student. He stood first in class at Delhi Public school RK Puram from 5th standard to X standard. In 2009 he won “National Child Award for Exceptional Achievements” from the ministry of women and child welfare Govt of India, which is the highest award of Indian govt to honor children. In 2011 took part in 11th National Cyber Olympiad and bagged 1st All India Rank and 3rd International Rank.
Karthik’s plan is to initiate an organization to support people with disabilities so that they can pursue careers of their choice. Kalam Fan Club would like to stress a point that Physical Blindness makes ways for internal vision which is far more powerful than visuals captured by naked eyes. Also, it is the time that Indian Education system reframes its regulations to support differently able persons to build careers of their choice.