[AI] Making it to MIT against odds

Kartik Sawhney sawhney.kartik at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 10:23:46 EDT 2010


I am a person with total blindness.

On 6/16/10, Vamshi G <gvamshiai at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Are you a person with low vision or total blindness?
> I know a few low vision people pursuing academics in sciences.
>
> Regards,
> Vamshi G
> M: +91 9949349497
> R: +91 877 2243861
> Skype: gvamshi81
>
> www.retinaindia.org
> From darkness unto light
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Kartik Sawhney
> Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 6:55 PM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] Making it to MIT against odds
>
> Thank you, but I have already got in touch with both of them. I would
> like to interact with as many people as possible, and hence I desire
> the No.
>
> On 6/16/10, Vamshi G <gvamshiai at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Karthik,
>>
>> For taking sciences, you may contact L. Pavan, Mayank Sharma, who are on
>> this very list.
>>
>> Regards,
>> Vamshi G
>> M: +91 9949349497
>> R: +91 877 2243861
>> Skype: gvamshi81
>>
>> www.retinaindia.org
>> From darkness unto light
>>
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
>> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Kartik
> Sawhney
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 5:19 PM
>> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>> Subject: Re: [AI] Making it to MIT against odds
>>
>> This is Kartik. As is quite evident from my few previous mails, I want
>> to take up PCM in class XI. However, I am currently facing many such
>> hurdles. Can I get the contact No. of Srikant so that I can have a
>> word with him. Your earliest response will be appreciated.
>>
>> On 6/16/10, Swasti Mathur <swastimathur at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> hi
>>> hats off to The Srikant. he is a source of inspiration to hundreds and
>>> thousands of future students who want to opt for PCM but step back due
>>> to pulling by the society and many other  circumstances acting like
>>> non-avalibility of study material. really this boy is geneous.
>>> may he climb the laddar of success throughout his life. waiting for a
>>> chance to meet such a brilient guy! and exchange few words.
>>> regards Swasti
>>>
>>> yogesh dubey wrote:
>>>> Bolla Srikanth, a visually-challenged boy, is currently pursuing his
>>>> Bachelor of Sciences at the varsity, says YOGENDRA KALAVALAPALLI
>>>>
>>>> - PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL
>>>>
>>>> Winner: Bolla Srikanth in conversation with National Trust Chairperson
>>>> Poonam Natarajan during the inaugural function of Abilities Mela 2010
>>>> in Secunderabad.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Bolla Srikanth was barely few years old when many in his community
>>>> counselled his parents to abandon him. The pressure was heavy on his
>>>> illiterate parents,
>>>> a farmer father and housewife mother, but they never yielded. Had they
>>>> heeded their advice, the world would have been minus one inspiring
>>>> story today.
>>>>
>>>> >From a small village Sitaramapuram near Machlipatnam town in Krishna
>>>> district, this visually-challenged boy has made it to the portals of
>>>> the prestigious
>>>> Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. The 18-year-old is
>>>> currently pursuing his Bachelor of Sciences in Brain and Cognitive
>>>> Science, Business Management
>>>> and Computer Science at the varsity.
>>>>
>>>> "Though they are illiterate, both of them, they had strong will to get
>>>> me educated. This inspired me," he says. Shortly after, about 13 years
>>>> ago, an uncle
>>>> of his enrolled him in Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad, and
>>>> life took a different spin for Srikanth.
>>>>
>>>> "I didn't know anything when I joined school. I was like a rural
>>>> introvert. I learned everything, I picked up English. I joined
>>>> community service. Now,
>>>> I have occupied a place in the society where people are respecting
>>>> me," he says, "It has been a long journey."
>>>>
>>>> >From being a "rural introvert", Srikanth went on to secure 92 per cent
>>>> in the Class 10 Board Examinations and was a two-time recipient of
>>>> Pratibha Awards
>>>> given by the Andhra Pradesh State government for students who excel in
>>>> public examinations every year.
>>>>
>>>> He also received a citation for outstanding community service as Youth
>>>> Leader in Lead India 2020 from former President APJ Abdul Kalam and
>>>> was a national
>>>> chess player playing against the likes of Koneru Humpy.
>>>>
>>>> Intermediate was next and he wanted to take up Maths, Physics,
>>>> Chemistry (MPC) stream to be eligible to study engineering. But a
>>>> disinclined officialdom
>>>> was not encouraging. "When I visited the offices for the first time,
>>>> they said get away from here. Even an IAS officer was not able to
>>>> realise the potential
>>>> of blind persons," he recollects.
>>>>
>>>> "After a lot of trouble," Srikanth finally managed to enrol himself
>>>> for MPC stream at a private college, a good three months after the
>>>> classes began. He
>>>> went on to secure an aggregate percentage of 93 at the end of two years.
>>>>
>>>> Challenges persisted still. "When I wanted to prepare for IIT, one
>>>> coaching centre told me straightaway I was not fit to join them."
>>>> Another top institute
>>>> in the country did not even bother to respond to his application. "I
>>>> didn't even get my hall ticket. I was not even allowed to write AIEEE.
>>>> But, I was
>>>> not disturbed because I was focussed on my goal and I wanted to study
>>>> Sciences."
>>>>
>>>> Guided by his mentors Swarnalatha, teacher at Devnar School for the
>>>> Blind and G. Ravishankar, a software consultant in the US, Srikanth
>>>> realised his ambition
>>>> of studying at MIT. "Only 120 seats are open for international
>>>> students for which students from 70 countries in the world fight," he
>>>> says proudly of his
>>>> admission that came with a US $49,000 scholarship.
>>>>
>>>> "My mentor Swarnalatha was like a backbone to me in whatever I did so
>>>> far. She has worked harder than me." She was by his side throughout:
>>>> fighting for
>>>> him, managing his study expenses, recording material for him to study
>>>> easily and even lodging him in her house during initial days of his
>>>> Intermediate.
>>>>
>>>> Mr. Ravishankar, whom Srikanth met during an international conference
>>>> at Indian School of Business, helped him apply to different
>>>> universities abroad. "Because
>>>> I was a special student, we had to fill up some special forms. He also
>>>> worked really hard with me for six months. Even now he is in contact
>>>> and helps me
>>>> with whatever I want."
>>>>
>>>> Persons with disabilities, he says, suffer from lack of exposure and
>>>> lack of opportunities. "You have to see where you stand in the
>>>> society, not as a visually-challenged
>>>> person but as a human being." He sings paeans about U.S. "The
>>>> University is very helpful. They have so many resources. People don't
>>>> show sympathy there.
>>>> In fact they provide you opportunities." He has already finished two
>>>> semesters at the university (scoring 5/5 GPA) and currently is
>>>> interning with GE in
>>>> Hyderabad.
>>>>
>>>> Srikanth is keen on entrepreneurship and plans to launch a software
>>>> firm after his course where he wants to give opportunities to rural
>>>> youth. "My life
>>>> ambition is to become the president of India," he declares. Given the
>>>> flak he has received so far and the grit with which he has overcome
>>>> them all, don't
>>>> dismiss him. Not yet, not so fast!
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
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