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Rejections Due to Physical Disability Motivated this Wheelchair-Bound Scientist to Clear UPSC CSE 2021

Kartik Kansal from Uttarakhand cleared UPSC CSE in third attempt by securing AIR 271.

Life took a different turn when Kartik Kansal was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the early age of 8, which made him wheelchair-bound after he turned 14. The disease was genetic and there was nothing he could do about it. He even faced a lot of rejections in life due to his physical condition. This became the main reason in Kartik’s life to appear for the UPSC civil services exam and become an administrator so that he can change perspectives and help people with similar disabilities.

Speaking exclusively to Indian Masterminds, Kartik Kansal spoke about the struggles he faced on his way to UPSC success.

EARLY EDUCATION AND STRUGGLE

Kartik belongs to a small town in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand called Roorkee. Born and brought up there, he completed his schooling from St Gabriel’s Academy. He was from a science background and wanted to pursue engineering at a good college. He appeared for the IIT JEE exam straight after schooling and cracked the prestigious IIT Roorkee. He pursued Mechanical Engineering for his graduation and completed it in the year 2018.

While speaking to Indian Masterminds, Kartik said, “After graduation, as every student wants job placement, I appeared for the Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam along with other exams like GATE, etc. However, after filling out the forms, I later found out that because of my disability, I wasn’t eligible for the posts. People with disabilities were eligible but as both my legs did not work, I wasn’t eligible.”

He even went for various PSU interviews but was rejected due to the same physical condition. As he was exploring other options, Kartik cleared the ICRB and IOCL exams at the same time. He chose to get into the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2018 and started working at the Spaceport of India, Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. He even cleared the UPSC exam while working here.

UPSC MOTIVATION

While speaking about the motivation for the UPSC exam, Kartik said, “While appearing for the engineering services, I felt that such criteria should not have been there. I thought that if I can be a part of policy making and work as an administrator, I could change the mentality of people and help people with similar disabilities get opportunities in such exams. Also, I felt a bit discriminated after performing so well in exams.”

Hence, being a scientist, he thought he could not have done much for people with similar conditions, in comparison to a civil servant and being a part of policy making. He, therefore, started his preparation for CSE while working a 9-5 job at ISRO.

“Since I am a working professional, I had a different strategy from others. During weekdays, as I didn’t get much time, I used to study for two hours before going to the office and after returning, I used to study till 11 pm. I used to get a lot of time during weekends, which I utilised for reading. This is how I maintained consistency during the preparation,” he said.

CLEARING UPSC

Kartik appeared thrice for the civil service examination with Mechanical Engineering as his optional subject. In his first attempt in 2019, he managed to secure AIR 813. Though he was getting a decent post, he wanted to improve his marks and get an administrative post.

He again sat for the exam in 2020 but couldn’t make it to the final list even after appearing for the interview. Finally, in the 2021 exam, he cleared all the stages and secured AIR 271.

His mother, Mamta Gupta, has been his greatest support since childhood. It was because of her strong will that he has been able to achieve his dreams while fighting all odds. He also said that his father LC Gupta, who works in the Revenue Department, and brother Varun Kansal are his pillars of support.

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