Kartik Sawhney, who was born without eyesight, boasts of a track record that would be the envy of even the world’s brightest students. However, he could secure many of his gains only after a struggle and that too after fighting for his rights with the authorities. This doggedness has made Kartik a great inspiration for visually challenged people.
Kartik’s struggle with the system started after his Class 10. Even though Kartik’s favourite subject was Science, blind students were not allowed to study the subject in plus-two classes by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) at that time. But the determined youngster took up the matter with the CBSE authorities. After a nine-month-long legal struggle, he secured a court verdict which said that all blind students could learn Science at the higher secondary level.
Kartik won this battle, but more obstacles came up soon. The youngster dreamt to pursue his higher studies in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) but rules did not permit students having his condition to do so. Yet another long struggle followed. For three years, Kartik wrote letters and submitted memorandums to change the rule. But there was no favourable action.
Realising that higher education in India was an uphill task, the youngster started applying to universities abroad. To his pleasant surprise, Kartik received an acceptance letter from the renowned Stanford University in the US to study Artificial Intelligence.
Meanwhile, Kartik also launched projects to help students like him to pursue science education. He is now actively involved in and is the brain behind the major initiatives of firms like Stem Access and NextBillion to ensure teaching of Science to differently abled students.
Several honours have come Kartik’s way recognising his work and ideas. They include the ‘Queen’s Young Leader Award’ of the UK for youth prodigies.