Rahul Bajaj and Sameer Rashid Bhat are no ordinary boys. Their stories of fighting the odds to win the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship are nothing if not inspiring. The two will pursue a year-long postgraduate course in law at Oxford University.
Born with a rare retinal condition called Leber congenital amaurosis, Rahul is an alumnus of Nagpur University.
Currently employed as an associate at Trilegal, he graduated from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar College of Law, Nagpur and was selected as a SpicyIP fellow in 2016, says a report by Live Law. He has also completed an online course in copyright law from Harvard Law School. A few months ago, he was interviewed by blind senior advocate SK Rungta about the challenges and successes of being a lawyer with disabilities.
Visibly excited about the new developments, Rahul wrote on his Facebook account,
My road to Rhodes has been long and arduous, for it has been beset with obstacles that many would have considered insurmountable, and I still have some distance to cover. But if hearing Gopal Krishna Gandhi announce your name as a Rhodes Scholar at the end of it all doesn't make this journey worthwhile, I wonder what will.
Congratulating the young lad, IDIA-Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education wrote,
We are delighted to hear that Rahul Bajaj has won the Rhodes Scholarship! Cannot think of anyone more deserving than him and rarely does one come across someone with as much grit as Rahul. Rahul has played an instrumental role in the disability vertical at IDIA and has been an ardent champion of the cause. We are sure that this is just the beginning and he will go on to achieve greater feats! Congratulations, Rahul — the IDIA family is proud of you!
Sameer, on the other hand, is a student at Gujarat National Law University. He is the first Rhodes Scholar not only from the Kashmir Valley but also from his university, says a post on Rising Kashmir. He said,
This achievement is not my achievement alone. Everyone that I have interacted with has contributed to this. The list of people that I have to thank is endless. I'm highly indebted to my professors at GNLU, teachers at IMI and Modern Public School, and the staff at each of these institutions. One person who has inspired me the most is my batchmate at GNLU, Gayathree Devi. I've learnt a lot from her and this one goes to her. This wouldn't have been possible without the support of my family, friends, and a whole lot of well wishers.
Last year, the scholarship went to NLSIU Bangalore's Vanshaj Jain, NUALS Kochi's Mary Kavita Dominic, and NUJS Kolkata's Gauri Pillai.