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When poverty failed to dampen IIT dream
Sunday June 23, 2013 12:03 PM, Imran Khan, IANS

A labourer, a landless farmer, a mechanic, a small shopkeeper and a driver are among the proud parents of children who cracked the highly-competitive IIT-JEE exam this year, thanks to a free coaching centre for underprivileged students in Bihar.

This year, 28 of the 30 students from Bihar's Super 30 free coaching centre cracked the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE). The results were announced Friday.

One of the students from Super 30 who cracked the exam, Bhanu Pratap, is the son of Rampyare Pratap, a poor labourer from Uttar Pradesh. "You have shown us the day we had not even dreamt of. We shall always be obliged to you," Geeta Devi, Bhanu Prataps's mother, told Anand Kumar, who runs the free coaching centre.

Pranav Kumar from Samastipur district in Bihar is the son of a landless farmer, Pankaj Kumar. Pranav studied in a government school. On cracking the exam, he said that Anand Kumar "not only taught us but gave us the confidence to excel even in the face of odds".

When Ankit Kumar from Vaishali district in Bihar lost his father, a lineman in the telephone department, in a road accident last year, his life seemed to come to a standstill. His jobless mother could not afford to educate him.

"I came to know of Super 30 and cleared its screening test. Here, I seemed to have found my new father," he said.

Shivangi Gupta, daughter of magazine vendor in Deha, 50 km from Kanpur, saw acute hardship from her childhood as her father Viresh Chandra Gupta struggled to make both ends meet.

"I was provided all help and stayed in Anand Kumar's and finally cracked my dream exam," Shivangi said.

Another student who cracked the IIT-JEE exam after being tutored at Super 30 is Abhishek Kumar. His father, Ghanshyam, is a mechanic. Abhishek wants to become an electrical engineer, a trait that runs in his genes.

Farhad and Yasmeen Shafi's son Hanjala has also made it through the IIT-JEE. Hanjala's parents have a small shop in Patna. They somehow scraped together money to pay his school fees. "Today my son is set to go to IIT," said a proud Yasmeen.

Santosh Kumar's father Sanjeev Mallik from Madhubani is worried how he will pay his son's IIT fees, but he has faith in god to see them through. "I don't have the money to buy him new clothes and books. But when god has brought him this far, he will take care of his future also. I am a driver and don't even know what IIT is," Mallik said.

A proud Afsar Nath Mishra, a Sanskrit teacher and priest from Banka, is proud that his daughter Preeti Kumari will be an engineer. "She will be our support when we are old," Mishra said.

Super 30 is an innovative school run by Anand Kumar since 2002. He selects 30 students from poor families and grooms them for the IIT. He provides them with free board and lodging, paying for everything from his own pocket.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

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