Korok Biswas is an accomplished classical dancer who was felicitated with the Pradhan Mantri Bal Shakti Award 2020 (Under National Child Award for Exceptional achievement) from the President & Prime Minister of India, during the Republic Day Celebrations for his contribution in art and culture. He is the first ever child with down syndrome to ever achieve this award. In 2019, the International Dance Council (CID) under UNESCO acknowledged Korok as their registered dance performer. He was awarded another National Child Award BAL SHREE- 2016 under Ministry of HRD- GOI. Korok is a Senior Diploma holder Dancer from Rabindra Bharati University and a National Scholarship Holder Dancer from CCRT under Ministry of Culture, Govt of India
He dreams of achieving greater heights in dance, for which he carries a deep passion and wants to open a Dance School for Persons with Special Needs. “You need to keep practicing and be attentive to the music playing during a show rather than at the Judges or the audiences present”– opines Korok
He is 17 yrs old and has been a Special Olympics Athlete since the age of 11 having participated in various State and Local Level Games in Athletics (50m and Shotput).
Shocked to even come to terms with Korok’s condition themselves and then to have to explore facilities that would support his growth at a time when options were few, left his parents feeling isolated themselves. Receiving no support from the family and neighbors plunged them to near suicidal thoughts. The journey for Korok’s parents was tumultuous and unbearable at times, when they heard their son and only child being called ‘handicapped’ or ‘unwanted’ or them being labelled as ‘Cursed’. The tough challenges, however, compelled them to choose a positive path of development and joy.
His education began through a mainstream school that did not accept him and a few more schools that followed with the same outcome. An integrated School was approached, but that too fell weak in fulfilling the true essence of the word. Throughout his 5 years there, his mother, who is an Electronics & Telecommunication Engineer, attended the school every day as his shadow teacher, as the others could not manage him. Korok continued to be aggressive in his behavior while his teachers concentrated more on the ‘mainstream’ children who would show better and faster results.
Joining the Noble Mission School turned the tide. He gained access to therapy, Special Olympics Sports and all that gradually delivered him from pushing people, throwing objects unprovoked to a calm, cheerful, social and ‘talkative’ Korok. He himself, being fond of Music and dance, introduced Korok to it and there was no looking back.
Korok’s professional dance training and participation began in 2013. Today his parents hold their head high in view of Korok’s achievements but maintain that much needs to be done to change mindsets and attitudes. His father understands that this acceptance is more due to Korok’s achievements and not otherwise.
But Korok and his parents have moved on. Even during the lockdown, he follows a schedule that keeps him busy for about 10 hrs in a day. During short breaks he loves to view different song or dance videos from YouTube. He contributes in house chores, like, he sweeps and dusts the rooms, fills Water Bottles and also regularly prepares the bed for himself and his Grand Father “There was a drastic transformation’’ He prefers being independent and to encourage that we are these days training him to make purchases himself, which I feel is essential for survival”– says his father
I will make this world as the blooming garden of all the little children buds, on harvesting more Koroks – says Korok
Presently he is preparing himself for OBE Exams, as his parents found that to achieve some higher qualifications in Dance, a minimum 10th pass educational qualification is required, as per the Govt. norms and his School Noble Mission is all out helping him for the preparation.