‘My past can’t tie me down’ was the title Karthika Annamalai gave to a write-up she gave us on herself. She studied at Shanti Bhavan, a non-profit organization for children from economically and socially deprived families. Before Karthika was found by Shanti Bhavan in 1997, she was being taken care of by a small convent that gave her food and shelter. Her mother, a widow, worked in a quarry breaking stones and she stayed with her uncle, a violent alcoholic.
The drunken violence of her uncle often forced her to take refuge in neighbors’ houses. As a reminder of those days, she still keeps near her bed a piece of stone that once hit her on her forehead when she was a child.
As a student from Shanti Bhavan, Karthika is accomplished in many ways. She is good in both the arts and the sciences. She won the first place in a science competition for displaying a method to recycle newspaper. When asked why she chose to do law, she says: “I decided years ago that I wanted to be a human rights lawyer, fighting against the many social injustices that exist in India, more than a handful of which I have witnessed myself in my family and community”. Her dreams do not end with being a human rights lawyer. With an almost stubborn optimism she goes on: “I also hope that working in the field of law in India will provide me the skills I need to one day alleviate poverty and injustice on a broader scale, hopefully in a political position in India”.
She had previously cracked the CLAT in 2011 and had secured a place at NLIU, Bhopal. However, she was keen on trying her luck again in CLAT 2012 for a higher ranked college. She secured admission in the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata.
Since then, Karthika has won many accolades. She was one of the top 50 participants in the Budapest Forum, the final stage of the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge (GDPPC), where she competed against renowned and accomplished candidates from all over the world to reach the semi-final rounds. She won the CNN-IBN Zindagi Live Award 2013.
Karthika graduated in 2017. She is currently an Associate at AZB & Partners.