The girl who made iims go public - a real story

Pallav Singhania (❤ Work Hard Party Harder ❤)   (31112 Points)

28 November 2011  

Vaishnavi Kasthuri has the 'never say die' attitude. It was this attitude that helped this 21-year-old visually-impaired girl from Bangalore in her fight for transparency in the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore.

Vaishnavi, who is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration degree from a reputed college in Bangalore, thought she was on course to fulfill her dreams after having scored 89.29 per cent in the CAT examination. It had been her ambition to join the IIMB.

IIMB had a prescribed cut-off of 86.42 per cent for students with disability. Vaishnavi waited for a call to the next round, but it never came. Not losing hope, she decided to approach the management institute to find out why she was not among the list of candidates. From here began the battle royal.

Vaishnavi sought information about the credentials of other candidates with physical disabilities who had made it to the final list. However, her request was denied outright. She was forced to the seek recourse under the Right to Information Act.

R K Kasthuri, Vaishnavi's father, told that IIMB had called him for a meeting. However, he did not get any information regarding his daughter. Thereafter, he decided it was time to fight it out. In fact, he was told that the selection process at the IIM was a trade secret.

The Karnataka State Information Commission, headed by K K Mishra, ruled that the matter fell under the purview of the Centre, as the IIMB did not come under the jurisdiction of the state government.

The matter was then heard by the Central Information Commission, which directed that the criteria for selection ought to be made public. Following this, the IIM did convey to Vaishnavi that her candidature had not been considered as she had not have the requisite marks in her Standard 10th and 12th examinations.

Though Vaishnavi did not make it to the top management institute, but she did win her battle. The question that Vaishnavi poses is: "Why do they insist on CAT when they do not attach too much importance to it?" 

However, she is glad her case will be a benchmark for all students who apply in IIM in the time to come. 

"Even if a student is rejected, he or she has the right to know why the candidature did

not come through," says Vaishnavi.


Her family is beaming with pride. They are proud to have a daughter like Vaishnavi. A visit to the family clearly shows how they stand together in Vaishnavi's fight. Her mother, Sujatha Kasthuri, decided to remain a housewife for her daughter's sake. 

A proud mother says that her daughter is disciplined and unlike other mothers, she does not have to worry too much about her since she does not have to be told what to do. My daughter converts all the negative energy into positive energy, she adds.

Vaishnavi considers her brother, Vishwak, as her best friend. He takes her to the gym in the morning and is with her when he gets time of his studies and cricket. Does it bother Vishwak that his sister is walking away with all the adulation? "No, her battle is like my own," says Vishwak, while proudly showing a photograph of his sister, him and ace Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar [Images] together.

This is not the first time that Vaishnavi has hit the headlines. She made her family proud when Karnataka Governor T N Chaurvedi presented her an award for her achievements during the Independence Day celebrations in the state.

At present, she wants to complete her MBA and join some top company. Every day she records her lectures at college and comes back home and listens to it over and over again She has a specially-designed computer for her studies. She says girls in her college are nice and helpful too. 


But will she join IIMB, if they were to call her? The answer from Vaishnavi: "NO."