Published: 13th August 2020
YouTube, screen readers and Kannada literature: How Meghana, a visually challenged prodigy, cracked UPSC and KAS in the same year
While most of the students say it is difficult to crack UPSC, for Meghana it was a part of her life. This girl who lost her vision set her standards high by cracking UPSC in the second attempt
Two days ago, when Meghana K T got to know that she has cleared UPSC, she and her family were very happy. Despite being partially blind, she was able to get the 465th rank this year. But the journey to getting this rank and preparing for the exam was not easy for her.
Meghana lost her vision when she was 15 years old. She says, "I was in class 10 when the blackboard started getting blurry for me. Then, I moved from the last bench to the first bench. However, things became worse and we approached the doctor. There was no cure to this condition as it was genetic and one of the rarest conditions that anyone could encounter. I took permission from the KSEEB to write the exam by sitting outside the exam hall as I could see the words written on the question paper under a better light. I was able to score 97 per cent then and took up Science in PUC 1."
As her vision kept deteriorating, Meghana had to shift from Science to Arts. Soon, after completing PUC 2, she pursued BA in Journalism and did her Masters in English. It was during her post-graduation that Meghana started studying for UPSC exams. By now, Meghana had shifted to using a JAWS software that can read out the text from any book. She says, "I underwent a six-month training programme at Mitra Jyoti to use this software. It is an NGO in Bengaluru that works in the interest of visually impaired people. Though the software helped me read whatever I wanted to, I had to spend some extra effort and time to study. Sometimes, my mother and sister read the books for me. And I took the help of a scribe to write my exams. These days, there are also a lot of YouTube channels and websites where the text is easily available and the software reads it out for me."
This year's UPSC was Meghana's second attempt. Earlier, in 2018, when she attempted it for the first time, she made it till the last round but was not able to qualify. However, this 25-year-old did not loose hope. Hence, in 2019, she wrote both UPSC and Karnataka Administrative Services. "The KAS results were also announced recently and for the past three months I have been working as an Assistant Director in the State Treasury Department. I am still in the probationary period. Now, that I have got 465th rank, I will be attending training either for IAS or IRS. It depends on the decision of the board whether I will be posted in the IAS or IRS," says Meghana whose major subject was Kannada literature during the UPSC mains.