On Campus

A dose of inspiration for IIM-A students

| Updated on: Jul 28, 2014

Siddharth Jayakumar is a manager at IndusInd Bank and like any of his colleagues would be, he was excited to be at India’s top business school, IIM Ahmedabad on Saturday. The only difference was while his counterparts would visit the Vastrapur campus for short-term corporate programmes, he was here to address the students and talk about his journey of life. A big difference indeed. Jayakumar’s willingness to fight unfair prejudice at the personal and institutional level to get an education and pursue a career had led him here. He has 70 per cent cerebral palsy, a permanent, non-progressive movement disorder that causes physical disability.

As the interactive session began Jayakumar asked the students what being ‘normal’ meant to different people. To him uncontrollable muscular movements and the ability to control just two fingers has been the definition of normalcy. He told the students that it was only by loving oneself and accepting both, one’s ability and constraints, could a person truly overcome the challenges life throws.

Jayakumar’s disorder caused him to approach life with his unique reference frame. This experience included dealing with different people from different walks of life – patience with those who judged him solely on physical appearance, resilience with those unwilling to look beyond his disability, and innovative methods of communication with those who had to transcribe his maths and science examinations papers – so that he brings a unique perspective to the table.

Jayakumar spoke about how it was important for individuals and organisations to afford a chance to differently-abled people to shine. It was imperative to avoid judgment based on prejudice to get more out of people who were differently-abled. He expressed gratitude to all those who had given him a chance in life and to all those who had ‘listened’.

Jayakumar’s excellent academic record brings forward the struggle he faced to write his examinations – often with the help of unqualified scribes. His patience, his resolve and his will to never give up, has been inspiring. This time he chose to share it with country’s top would-be managers.

Published on March 12, 2018

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