Want to be a teacher & shape responsible future citizens, says Kavya Bhat, visually impaired Mysore University gold medalist
With two gold medals in MA Political Science, Kavya Bhat was among the stars at the University of Mysore’s 100th convocation ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On My Take she talks about her future dreams which involves shaping responsible future citizens.
Winning gold medals and this recognition and attention should have been the happiest moment of my life. However, for me it is clouded by a personal loss.
My father Srinivas Bhat passed away just a few weeks before the convocation. My mother Ravikala Bhat and he have played a major role in guiding me and supporting me until now.
I lost my sight at the age of two. I was a little over a year old when my parents realised there was something wrong with one of my eyes. I had retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina, in one eye. Radiation and surgery followed but it didn’t help. The cancer spread to the other eye and I lost sight completely.
Lost vision to cancer
I enjoyed a regular childhood thanks to my parents’ support. I had access to basic amenities and assistive technology in my school, Mathru Educational Trust. Knowledge of basic computer skills and spoken English gave me confidence.
College life made me aware that I was disabled. I was made to feel different. I was out of the protective home and school environment and the experience was depressing. There was one another visually impaired student in my class and no one would talk to us. The college staff was supportive but while going to and coming back from college I encounter comments like ’What is the point of educating such people’. Or ‘they are just troubling us by coming out’. This would really hurt. I eventually learned to overcome this.
Moving to Mysore to study MA was the tuning pint. I decided to move out of Bengaluru after my mother read about a visually impaired student called Nagaraj PV who wrote his final semester exam through computer. I was fed up of the scribe system by then and was looking to become self-reliant. I was facing many issues while dictating answers because my thought process and flow would never get captured well. I could have stayed on in Bengaluru and tried to push for a change in the Bangalore University but that would have taken time.
Proficient in Carnatic music
Help The Blind Foundation (HTBF), which works to support visually impaired people, helped me with a scholarship for the post graduate course. I hit upon political science as a choice of subject because it is to do with responsible citizenship. My aim is to become a teacher and shape future citizens. I have always wanted to teach and initially I had decided on economics but gave up on that because it involves explaining diagrams. This would have been challenging for me as a visually impaired person.
I won two gold medals for topping MA but what should have been the greatest time of my life has been affected by my father’s sudden death. He died a few weeks before the convocation ceremony. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour 12 years ago and had recovered but it suddenly came back and he died in 24 hours.
Now my goal is to pursue a Ph.D. I also love music and have cleared the junior and senior levels in Carnatic vocals. It was my father’s dream that I pursue music as a career, and while I decided otherwise I will honour him by keeping my interest in music alive.
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