It is said that the nation becomes stronger when equal opportunities knock at the doors of our young generation. Intelligence with perseverance takes one a long way, just like the students of IIT-JEE who try to fight all odds and construct a successful journey for themselves in the field of engineering.
Clearing the exams may seem like a cake walk – with the fees paid on tuitions and JEE classes – to some parents, teachers and self-acclaimed mentors. But for some, goals are never met without shedding sweat. Aspirants have to face harsh realities at a tender age and topple their way out from this cocoon full of miseries.
A young boy was forced to work at a tea stall everyday, before his school, to fulfill his responsibility in order to take care of his seven-member family. His family was dependent on that small tea stall. He had to take charge of the stall till the time his father would come and take over work, releasing him to go to his school. This young boy is Gautama Jha, a 2013-2014 batch, Electronics and Communications – Delhi Technological University. While sitting in the air-conditioned college library, Jha remembered the shade behind the shop where he used to study after school, before helping his father at the stall, later in the day.
He had keen interest in science and received an Aakash Institute Talent Scholarship, which presented him a big amount of Rs 6,000. His family was sunk in debt already and this scholarship helped him in a big way.
Hard work always pays, this was true for Jha as well. A call from the Centre for Social Responsibility and Learning (CSRL), made it all possible for him. At the centre, he shared a room with three other like-minded aspirants. Thus environment helped strengthen his will and determination to concentrate and work hard for his studies. From studying under a street to getting into Super 30, Jha’s journey has been full of emotions and hard work.
Similarly, a student from the same batch, Tufail Ansari, remembers his childhood, saying, “If I peep through a window of my past I will find a guy in school who had keen interest in science and mathematics and wanted to pursue engineering. But it wasn’t as easy as he thought”.
Ansari grew up in a family of six. His father was a tailor and the whole family was dependant on his small shop, which failed to meet the family requirements. A strong will and undying efforts made everything possible for Tufail.
“My father always taught me to live with whatever we’ve been blessed with”, he said. “By the time I reached the stage where I would choose my career, I gave an attempt to clear IIT but couldn’t get the desired results. I waited and tried hard but I never wanted to be a burden on my father and could never think of prioritising my dreams over my sister’s”, he added.
However, his determination finally paid off soon after. He received a call for an interviewer from Abhyanand Super 30. His selection was the best thing in the world to have happened to him. It wasn’t just the free coaching or food but the freedom of thought that paved his way towards excellence. Apart from studies, the aspirants were taught about other aspects of life and the world of acceptance, giving, sharing and helping others.
He says proudly, “Today, because of ‘National Super 100 Delhi’ I am in one of the reputed engineering college Delhi Technological University (DTU) from where I can improve myself and see myself as a mature transformed person in every aspect.”
“All you need is zeal and the path is craved”, such was the spirit of Poonam Gupta, an IIT Kharagpur student from the batch of 2011. She had seen a lot of hardships in her childhood with not enough resources to study. It was impossible for her to dream about reaching to a position where she is now. Her teachers and mother dreamt big about her, and so she believes worked well for her. “I had no idea that this was going to be a golden period of my life. I made some life-long relationships which have helped me in developing myself. All such memories make it a beautiful journey”, she said.
Ashok Sahoo, an Electrical Engineer from IIT-Kharagpur ( 2013-2014) had it similar as well. Son of a farmer, Sahoo lived in Baghmari, which is located in the western part of the Khurda district in Odisha. A majority of the population in Khurda depends on agriculture for livelihood. “People here are known for simple living and high thinking. My father and uncle are not educated but have always had high hopes about my career. My father was worried about my future but he trusted my decision and pondered full faith in me”, he said.
Studying in Navodaya and assisting his father in farming, Sahoo never thought about IIT. He remembers that he was quiet sure that IIT was a big step away from where he was. “My first attempt disappointed me and the thought of getting enrolled in an expensive coaching class was a fact I feared the most”, he said. Soon after, Sahoo got admission in the National Super 100 Delhi.
Apart from free coaching benefits, the peer learning experience with 45 sharp minds possessing multiple potential was an added advantage for him. The focus here was concept strengthening. He adds, “Initially, I was worried about my performance. I was worried about being able to make it to the top or not. Months later in the coaching, I regained my confidence and put all efforts together.”
These are just a few of the many untold stories. Such institutes tend to spare time and money inpersonality development and training of students who do not have access to plausible resources.