He’s India’s wheelchair warrior: A lesson on how to make the most of life

He suffered more than 50 fractures by the age of 26, with the first one happening at the age of 3 & a half months, due to a very rare bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as ‘brittle bone disease’. He was passionate about dancing as a child, but had to let go of it due to his condition.

He had to discontinue studies after Class 12th, due to issues with the functioning of both his hands. He spent 6 years in a room, as he was unable to even use a wheelchair. All his joints are fixed & he uses an electric wheelchair to commute. But Sai Kastuv Dasgupta has combated all of this, to achieve extraordinary feats.

Originally from Siliguri in West Bengal & Sri Sathya Sai Baba devouts, Sai Kaustuv & his family moved to Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, in the year 2004. It was on the suggestion of an eye specialist Dr. Sai Kiran, who told them about the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi, which is recognized for offering specialized services in orthopedics.

Kaustuv’s father Kaushik Dasgupta (a photojournalist) & his mother Shila Dasgupta (a science & music teacher), left their jobs, sold off their house & other belongings in Siliguri, to shift to Puttaparthi.

Achievements & Accolades:

Upon being inspired by his mother, who was also his first teacher as a trained classical singer herself, & someone who knew the issues that he was facing with dancing, Sai Kaustuv took to singing as a child. He won the ‘Dishari Award’ for the ‘Best Child Singer of West Bengal’ in 1999-2000. He also got opportunities to showcase his talent, before accomplished artistes such as Manna De, Ustad Rashid Khan, Anup Jalota, & Anuradha Poudwal. Not just this, Sai Kaustuv went on to compose more than 150 songs.

While in Siliguri, he had 2 of his music albums released as audio cassettes, namely ‘Maa’ (1997) & ‘Arghyo’ (1999). His love for singing has continued, & he has recently released a DVD of his compositions named ‘Sai Sangeeta Sudha’, as well as 2 MP3 Audio Albums titled ‘Jaya Vijayee Bhava’ & ‘Sai’s Hearts Beats’.

It might sound unbelievable, but due to Sai Kaustav’s belief in himself & his instinct of battling it out in life, he learned to operate a computer & subsequently he also learned the art of graphic designing, with just online tutorials on YouTube to aide him. He uses a virtual keyboard to type & operates the mouse by using just 2 fingers of his left hand. Sai Kaustuv works as a freelance graphic designer, & has created artworks for many of his international clients.

As a motivational speaker, Sai Kaustuv has inspired millions of people, especially students & youth, with online sessions of his pep talks. He has conducted motivational sessions for PhD scholars of various institutes in different states of India, as well as those in countries like the US, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia & Nepal to name a few. He did it via Skype and didn’tn’t charge even a single penny for doing it.

Sai Kaustuv is a recipient of the CavinKare Ability Award 2017 for his accomplishments as a singer, music composer, graphic designer & motivational speaker. As a winner of the ‘All India #WheelchairWandurlust Competition’ in 2016, he won an accessible trip to Goa, where the State Chief for Disabilities in the Government of Goa: Mrs. Anuradha Joshi met him & took his feedback on how to make India more accessible for the differently abled.

As an author of a book in English titled ‘My Life, My Love, My Dear Swami’ published in 2015, Sai Kaustuv has expressed himself, & has delivered a message, by reflecting upon his life, the struggles & his learning from it. The book has been translated in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Hindi & Gujarati. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appreciated the book upon receiving a copy of it, sent to him by Sai Kaustuv.

Mission, Vision, Belief & Motto:

According to Sai Kaustuv, it is very important to make people aware about the issues associated with accessibility, across the length & breadth of this country, so that they can be addressed & people don’t have to face them in future. He intends to use his graphic designing skills & motivational speeches for the purpose.

In his own words, “Life gave me two options. To spend my life confined in a comfort zone, with all the necessary facilities. Or to share my positivity, love & eternal joy with the whole world. I have chosen the second option as I believe, that life is a unique story, everything is possible, & there must be nothing to worry about.

It can be concluded that Sai Kaustuv Dasgupta is an Indian icon with leadership traits acknowledged by millions around the world. He’s someone who’s in the league of Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking & Srikanth Bolla. According to us, the government & the relevant authorities must take him on board while making their plans & policies, to get a distinct view as well as to accommodate & include the thoughts & concerns of specially abled individuals like him.

Sushant Awasthi
Mr Sushant is an intellectual with corporate work experience in reputed international companies. He has a wide spectrum of interests and knowledge on subjects ranging from contemporary geopolitical environment to history, sociology, economics and beyond. He pens down exciting and inspirational stories and shares his views on various issues exclusively for The Youth's readership. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficeOfSA