“Blindness is not a disability or defect, it’s just a characteristic”. Despite being visually impaired, Mr. Pratish Datta has reached great heights of success. Currently, Mr. Datta is a Ph.D. student in the field of “Cryptology and Security systems” at IIT KGP.
After graduating with mathematics from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, he joined IIT KGP in 2010 for an MSc. course. He was the best academic performer in this course, for which he received “J C Bose Memorial Gold Medal” from the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
From childhood, his left eye had no vision. His right eye too was almost deprived of vision, he had to use 20 dioptres power glasses for his right eye. As a result of this, he could not take up Science for his +2 course. Low vision could have posed great difficulty for him in performing science experiments. The arts stream did not attract him rather. He was keen to study Mathematics from his younger days. His complete dependency on his mother for reading textbooks developed his mental power to such an extent that he could do complex calculations mentally. Therefore, he took up Ecoscience, which included Mathematics, Statistics, and Economics. The next challenge for him was to choose a subject for graduation. Mr. Datta liked Economics but he was not interested in pursuing this subject for graduation. He had a great interest in Statistics but frequent use of computers in that field could have been a difficult task to manage. The circumstances and his love for the subject resulted in the choice of Mathematics for graduation. In 2008, which was his second year of graduation, he lost the vision of his right eye too. From his college, St. Xaviers, there persisted a trend of students going to top universities. It motivated him to study harder and thereafter he took admission in IIT KGP through JAM. The scribe provided to him in the JAM exam did not have even basic knowledge of Mathematics and English. Despite this, he completed his exam and qualified it. Faculty members, staff members, his friends have supported him through almost every part and parcel of his life at IIT KGP. He received support from the administration too, as and when required. He completed his MSc. course with flying colors bagging the “J C Bose Memorial Gold Medal”. The happiness of achieving this feat was incomparable to any other happiness for him. According to Mr. Datta, to succeed in a particular subject you cannot rely just on practice without having a basic understanding of the subject. Above all, in many aspects, Mathematics is the toughest subject. Therefore, one should try to understand the logic behind everything.
Subsequently, he took admission in Ph.D. course in “Cryptology and Security systems” at IIT KGP. His interest is more inclined towards research rather than teaching. So, he further plans to do Post-Doc.
Mr. Datta credits his parents for the enormous success he has achieved, especially his mother. His mother works with him day and night sacrificing everything for his studies. According to Mr. Datta, often people believe that his mother might have been a Mathematics scholar. But it is not true, she just writes and reads what he says and she has been doing this for him since his childhood. His mother says, “ My son’s success definitely makes me happy but the biggest happiness for me would be if my son is able to see.’’ His hobby includes music, he listens to a variety of songs. He also likes to “listen’’ to movies. Apart from these, till the time he had a vision, he loved reading storybooks. But after losing his vision, he could only listen to audiobooks, although, it did not make him feel the way he used to feel while reading the books.
Mr. Datta has even delivered a talk at TEDx in Kalidas Auditorium, IIT KGP, alongside many greats including the Nobel laureate, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi. He also went to Japan to deliver a guest lecture. People generally like to know about success stories but the struggles, hard times behind them go untold. So has been the case with him. He has been through many struggles, ups, and downs but nothing could dampen his zeal to pursue a career in mathematical research. He believes “nothing is impossible”.
Mr. Datta says, everyone is bound to face tough times. Life would lose its meaning if problems are taken out of it. So, instead of getting depressed, one should accept the challenges and focus on solving the problems. Apart from these, he wants us to convey the information that there are many softwares available for the visually impaired person which dictates the layout of the laptop screen and makes it possible to be used by them.
His life has been extraordinary which will motivate a large mass of audiences. He has succeeded in proving that one sees through the mind, not the eyes.