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The story of Satya

Real life story of a brilliant student, not allowed to appear for a job interview because of his physical challenges.

Dr. Sugata Sanyal
Wed, Jun 4 2014

Illustration: Rajat Dey

About Dr. Sugata

Dr. Sugata Sanyal was a Professor in the School of Technology & Computer Science at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and a writer by passion. He is a Research Advisor with the Tata Consultancy Services now. Please click here for more info.

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An Enigmatic Beauty


বরিশালের বাঙাল

My many Kolkata

Remember the interview scene in 3 Idiots? Raju Rastogi enters the interview room riding a wheel chair. He gave genuine replies about what happened to him. He got the job. Raju was lucky. His handicap was temporary and the interviewing company was not the central government public sector unit or PSU that came to this Assam Engineering Institute for campus recruitment.

Satya Goswami, a student there, entered the interview room with the help of crutches, as his lower limbs did not function properly. Unlike the mediocre Raju, Satya was a brilliant student. Holding a CGPA of 8.78 and the first class second position in his Department of Computer Science, Satya by then had published 6 highly original papers.

But still he was not allowed to sit for the interview. Why?

The experts from the PSU told Satya that their mandate for this campus interview did not allow them to interview him as he uses crutches. Did you know that software work is not possible due to crutches? We learn a lot in life. I did on that day when Satya told me about this.

No, Satya did not contest their claim as future of other students of his college at that PSU was to be decided by these experts. The young man of early 20s walked out of the interview room, again with the help of his crutches, his constant companion for almost a decade.

When Satya had been a student of Class X, he and some of his friends brought a chemical ‘Carbamate’ which they wanted to use in an experiment. But while opening the bottle, it spilled into his hand and face and he inhaled the fumes of the chemical. Satya came out of the ICU of the hospital after two weeks. In two weeks, his legs developed weakness, diagnosed to be suffering from “Toxin induced Myelo Radiculopathy”.

Gradually over years with physiotherapy, he had regained about 50 per cent of lost strength in his lower limbs. His upper limbs were alright. But spasticity of lower limbs persisted which became predominant.

Raju Rastogi was lucky. So was Naga Naresh Karutura, youth with no legs, who is working with Google. But there was no such luck for Satya, another real life character.

But Satya is not his real name. I know the real face and soul since he worked with me when I was at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Satya is a brilliant boy with no crutches in his brain.

Naga Naresh Karutura once said in an interview: "God has always been planning things for me. That is why I feel I am lucky." I am sure God is a bit busy now-a-days. Hope He finds some time from the busy schedule, to inject some good sense in the brains of government policy makers and the interviewers and experts of one of the largest PSUs in India, so that future Satyas do not have to walk out of an interview room with an injured morale.

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bullet Comments:

Kajari Guha (Monday, Sep 22 2014):
Most of us fail to empathize unless we are trapped in the same situation. A country would always lag behind with the people who are totally apathetic to change their negativity.
Subhamoy Chakraborti (Sunday, Sep 14 2014):
Quite sad state indeed. PSUs should have been more open in taking him, considering their social responsibilities.
Suman Manna (Monday, Jun 16 2014):
Unfortunately the saviour of our society become destroyer of moral value and virtue in all Satyas story. Our society is walking on the crutch of mandate made by the PSU and Govt expert which fails to measure Satya's intellectual ability, creativity or originality. My father too had to walk out of class room with a injured moral for not being able to pay 33 Rs for 10th class exam. We all need to make a promise to ourselves, If we happen to meet any Satyas in future we will keep their moral hig
Nirmalya Nag (Sunday, Jun 8 2014):
Those with 'no crutches in their brain' will do much better things in life. Thank you Prof Sanyal for telling us the story of Satya.
Dr. Sugata Sanyal (Saturday, Jun 7 2014):
Sunil: You are right. Satya is destined to do much better things in life, than working for a PSU where they write programs with legs. Satya wrote totally 8 papers, not 6. Great person, great academic mind. And he did all these which did not conflict with his 20 minutes meeting with PSU experts who had come for taking interview in his college and could spare time to reject his candidature because he uses a crutch.
Rahul Darmwal (Friday, Jun 6 2014):
sad state of affairs..any kind of disability is looked down..equal treatment required for people with disabilities
Sunil Kumar Kopparapu (Friday, Jun 6 2014):
I hope this happened a while ago and am sincerely hoping things have changed since then in PSU's and elsewhere. On a positive note I think -Sathya- was meant to do -better- things in life than work in a PSU. Guess he would not have had an opportunity to be in TIFR if the PSU selected him ;-)


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