Kartik Sawhney, second from left, with his mother Indu Sawhney, left;
his school principal Dr D R Saini, second from right; and vice
principal Shobha Mehta, right. Kartik lost his eyesight after being
Stanford-bound Kartik Sawhney tells Divya Nair how
he overcame hurdles posed by blindness,
and rejection from the IIT
For three years, Kartik Sawhney’s family wrote to the Indian Institutes of Technology to allow him to appear for the IIT entrance examinations. He was told, says Kartik, 18, that there was no provi- sion for blind students to take the highly competitive exam.
This year, the Delhi boy scored 96 percent in his high
school examination — India’s first visually impaired stu-
dent to have achieved the feat in the science stream.
What were the challenges you faced during your high
Since no other blind student had pursued science in the
11th grade, I had to write several letters to the controller of
examinations of the Central Board of Secondary
Education, to make an exception.
There were a lot of issues to be considered if I had to pursue science. For example, e-books for grades 11 and 12 science subjects were not available for blind students.
Along with my school principal Dr D R Saini, I must have
written about 20 letters to the CBSE, after which they
eventually considered my request.
How did you study then?
I generally use a screen-reading software called JAWS,
which converts text into audio; it basically reads out digital
content. Till grade 10, I did not face much difficulty because