[AI] The girl who made IIMs go public

Dinesh Kaushal dineshkaushal at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 19 23:07:52 EDT 2007



Vicky Nanjappa
September 18, 2007

Vaishnavi Kasthuri has the 'never say die' attitude. It was this attitude
that helped this 21-year-old visually-impaired girl from Bangalore in her
fight
for transparency in the prestigious Indian Institute of
Management-Bangalore.

Vaishnavi, who is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration
degree from a reputed college in Bangalore, thought she was on course to
fulfill
her dreams after having scored 89.29 per cent in the CAT examination. It had
been her ambition to join the IIMB.

IIMB had a prescribed cut-off of 86.42 per cent for students with
disability. Vaishnavi waited for a call to the next round, but it never
came. Not losing
hope, she decided to approach the management institute to find out why she
was not among the list of candidates. From here began the battle royal.

Vaishnavi sought information about the credentials of other candidates with
physical disabilities who had made it to the final list. However, her
request
was denied outright. She was forced to the seek recourse under the Right to
Information Act.

R K Kasthuri, Vaishnavi's father, told rediff.com that IIMB had called him
for a meeting. However, he did not get any information regarding his
daughter.
Thereafter, he decided it was time to fight it out. In fact, he was told
that the selection process at the IIM was a trade secret.

The Karnataka State Information Commission, headed by K K Mishra, ruled that
the matter fell under the purview of the Centre, as the IIMB did not come
under
the jurisdiction of the state government.

The matter was then heard by the Central Information Commission, which
directed that the criteria for selection ought to be made public. Following
this,
the IIM did convey to Vaishnavi that her candidature had not been considered
as she had not have the requisite marks in her Standard 10th and 12th
examinations.

Though Vaishnavi did not make it to the top management institute, but she
did win her battle. The question that Vaishnavi poses is: "Why do they
insist
on CAT when they do not attach too much importance to it?"

However, she is glad her case will be a benchmark for all students who apply
in IIM in the time to come.

"Even if a student is rejected, he or she has the right to know why the
candidature did
not come through," says Vaishnavi.

Her family is beaming with pride. They are proud to have a daughter like
Vaishnavi. A visit to the family clearly shows how they stand together in
Vaishnavi's
fight. Her mother, Sujatha Kasthuri, decided to remain a housewife for her
daughter's sake.

A proud mother says that her daughter is disciplined and unlike other
mothers, she does not have to worry too much about her since she does not
have to
be told what to do. My daughter converts all the negative energy into
positive energy, she adds.

Vaishnavi considers her brother, Vishwak, as her best friend. He takes her
to the gym in the morning and is with her when he gets time of his studies
and
cricket. Does it bother Vishwak that his sister is walking away with all the
adulation? "No, her battle is like my own," says Vishwak, while proudly
showing
a photograph of his sister, him and ace Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar
together.

This is not the first time that Vaishnavi has hit the headlines. She made
her family proud when Karnataka Governor T N Chaurvedi presented her an
award
for her achievements during the Independence Day celebrations in the state.

At present, she wants to complete her MBA and join some top company. Every
day she records her lectures at college and comes back home and listens to
it
over and over again She has a specially-designed computer for her studies.
She says girls in her college are nice and helpful too.

But will she join IIMB, if they were to call her? The answer from Vaishnavi:
"NO."

http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/sep/18spec.htm





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