He has set his sights high

YOU ASK him who was the president of the first All-India Kannada Sahitya Sammelana held in 1915, and he gives the answer instantly. He knows all about the 70 Kannada literary meets held so far in the State. He has the calendar on his fingertips. He is also good in general knowledge and has details of all the important events.

There may be many others who have an elephantine memory. But what differentiates 22-year-old Lokesh from the others is his ability to memorise the information he has heard. The fact that he was born blind has neither dimmed his enthusiasm to learn nor deterred him from competing with others.

Lokesh, who has conducted nearly 150 quiz programmes in schools across the district, was honoured during the All-India Kannada Sahitya Sammelana in Hassan in 1996. He will conduct a quiz on "Kannada-Karnataka", organised jointly by the Department of Public Instruction, the district unit of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, and the Students' Federation of India (SFI) on November 1 in Hassan for school students.

Lokesh's father rejected him as he was born blind, and it was his mother who took care of him. Lokesh studied at M. Krishna School for the Blind from Class I to VII and later joined the Government Boys School. He secured first class in SSLC. Lokesh, who appeared for the first year B.A. examination, could not continue his studies due to financial problems. He has also passed the junior-level examination in Carnatic music and is preparing for the senior-level examination.

"While he was studying in IV standard, I noticed his talent in remembering dates and incidents. Then, I began to read out information to him, which he used to retain in memory. Later, he developed the knack of storing information in his memory and recalling any information," his mother, Pramila, said.

Recognising his talent, many cultural organisations have honoured him. Lokesh does not want to limit himself to conducting quiz programmes. He wants to learn music and master it. He wishes to become a teacher.

By Muralidhara Khajane in Hassan

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