ISRO's physically challenged scientist Kartik Kansal cracks UPSC CSE 2021
Many people's lives have changed since the 2021 UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) results were announced. The stories of toppers have inspired UPSC aspirants across the country, and one such tale is of scientist Kartik Kansal, who fought against all odds to achieve his goals. Kansal was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of eight, a disorder in which limbs gradually stop functioning.
- The UPSC announced the results of the 2021 Civil Services Examination (CSE) on May 30. The top four UPSC ranks went to women.
- Kansal, a 25-year-old Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist who is wheelchair-bound, ranked 271 in the UPSC CSE on his third attempt.
- The inspirational story of Kansal holds significance as he achieved the feat while battling odds in his life.
As a child, Kansal spent the majority of his time engaging in therapy and meditation to mitigate the disorder's effects rather than going outside and playing with other children. Kansal graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2018 and cleared several exams, including the GATE and the UPSC Engineering Services Exam (ESE), but was unable to secure a job due to his physical disability.
Talking to India Today, Kansal said, "I did good in the...Engineering Services Exam but when the list came...I got to know that I wasn't eligible for any of the posts due to my condition. My whole world was shattered." He also revealed that being turned down for engineering jobs motivated him to undertake civil services and make policy changes.
"My rejection made me realize...there was a need to change a few policies in the system and make it more accessible to students who are mentally strong but not so much physically," said Kansal. He realized that such difficulties hinder disabled people's growth and morale.
Kansal took the CSE thrice. He secured the 813th rank on his first try in 2019. Although he was receiving a respectable position, he desired to improve his grades and obtain an administrative position. In 2020, he reappeared for the CSE, passing the preliminary examinations but failing to secure a position after the mains. However, his failure only fueled his desire to work harder.
In addition to managing his job at ISRO, Kansal adhered to a stringent routine to crack the UPSC CSE. "During weekdays, I used to wake up at 6 am, study till 8 am and then...leave for office. After returning from the office around 6:30 pm, I used to study till 11 pm. During weekends, I used to devote more time," he said.
Kansal told India Today his mother, Mamta Gupta, has always been his biggest supporter since he was a child. Meanwhile, his father LC Gupta, a Revenue Department employee, and brother Varun Kansal have been pillars in his life. Kansal, who is currently employed by ISRO, aspires to work in administrative or revenue services. According to reports, the service allotment list is yet to arrive.
The most significant change Kansal wishes to see in society is the mindset of those who believe that a person with a disability cannot achieve their goals. According to the 25-year-old scientist, "Disability doesn't just come...it's more about mentality. Society...isolates such kids. With this, comes a psychological barrier. I want to work on improving that mentality as well, making India more accessible for everyone."