What if life snatches your loved ones especially when you need them the most? What if you know that you are the deserving one but you don’t get what you dreamt just because you had no money? What if life hits you harder than you can even tolerate?
There are only two solutions to the above adversities, I repeat only two . One succumb and surrender to the thing called destiny and another turn into Anand Kumar.
So in this second edition of “SAKSHAT” ,read this Super inspiring story of a Super Man in flesh and blood , a Super Santa for the poor kids who gives wings to their dreams of getting into the most prestigious institution of India, the Super Amazing founder of Super 30 – ANAND KUMAR.
It’s May heat and we are trying to find Super 30 among the dusty lanes of Patna, Bihar. After a little struggle we finally reach a narrow lane and there is Anand Kumar, smiling and greeting us. He takes us to his classroom where a few kids are sitting on benches solving questions. The classroom is creaking, it’s terrible heat and comfort is nowhere in sight, I pull up a chair and talk to them.
Kundan from Bihar whose father is a shopkeeper is brimming with confidence, I ask him what after IIT and he says he wants to win a Nobel prize for India. Anuj whose father works as a helper in a shop wants to pursue research in Physical sciences. Rajeev,Rohit , Neeraj , Kundan ,Anuj – everyone’s story is the same ,coming from a background that limits their dreams they all want to fly in higher skies and they know that they will, they have their “Anand Sir” and Super 30.
I ask Anand Kumar his journey so far and he comes out with is Super Motivating story.
Disclaimer : People with a “Oh! Why it happens with me” attitude must read it (that includes me too btw)
“ Anand’s father worked at postal department , a lower rung employee he was but a very supportive father. He used to buy old books from the footpath about great personalities for Anand. It had a very positive impact on Anand’s life. The young Anand wanted to be like Ramanujam , Aryabhatt or Thomas Edison. Science became his interest and yes his addiction too. One day Anand ,who was just a schoolboy got hold of a science magazine called “ Vigyan Pragati” , it had a regular column called “हम सुझायें ,आप बनाएं “(We suggest, You create). Anand was hooked to this idea of making scientific models. He craved for more of this activity, so he started visiting repair houses , work shops and learnt how to repair transistor, radio etc. His love to create models badly affected his studies and he barely managed to pass his class 8th exams. That day the mechanic on whose shop he used to spend the whole day said to him “Your craziness will lead you to end up being a mechanic only”.
From that day onwards Anand started paying more attention to his studies, his mathematics teacher in Class 9th Mr. Ranendra Kumar Sinha developed in him a love for mathematics, which later in life would define Anand’s future. He took up Mathematics honors study and while he was in his second year, one of his mathematical theories got published in “Mathematical Hazard” journal. In his undergraduate days his 4-5 papers were already published in international journals. Seeing his extraordinary talent ,his guru D.P. Verma , HOD, Mathematics Division, Patna University asked him to apply for Cambridge for his post graduation. Needless to say Anand was selected to Cambridge for his masters. At this point of time,fate took an ugly turn.
Anand’s masters at Cambridge was about to start on 1st October 1994. Coming from an extremely poor background and having secured a partial scholarship for Cambridge, Anand knocked every door possible for help. He met many politicians, even the leading dailies like Hindustaan and Times of India carried out long articles on him asking for support but all in vain. With few months left to join, his Cambridge dream seemed drifting away.
On the fateful night of 23rd August 1994, it was pouring heavily, the slum area that he lived in was waterlogged. He and his father were sitting and discussing about how to arrange money for his overseas travel and suddenly Anand’s father got a heart arrest and he passed away sitting in front of him. Unable to sense that his father has actually passed away, he ran towards the home of a compounder and brought him home. The compounder on examining pulse knew that his father has gone was unable to tell the same to Anand. He suggested him to be taken to PMCH( Patna Medical College and Hospital ). With no vehicle there , a fruit vendor gave him his hand cart and on a hand cart amid a heavy downpour Anand took his father’s body to PMCH along with around 200 people of the slum. On reaching PMCH ,the doctors confirmed that his father had died hours back.
The world came shattering down for Anand. But he had to pick up the broken pieces. The first thing that came up before him was a compensatory job at his father’s place because of his untimely demise. Anand didn't want to for which he got support from his brave mother who asked his sons to continue their studies. His mother used to prepare “Papad” (a salty snack ) and then both the brothers in evening went in the city to sell those.
From Cambridge dreams to selling Papad, but Anand did not give up. His brother suggested him to take up tuitions and he started teaching mathematics to two kids, gradually the number went up to 36. Not very particular about the fees that his students were giving Anand enjoyed teaching. One fine day a boy called Abhishek came to him and requested for coaching, unable to pay the meager fees too, he promised to pay him back whenever his farmer father would dig out potatoes. Amazed at his zeal Anand went after him to look for how was he managing to stay in Patna, to which he saw that Abhishek was living in a crumpled place below stairs of an advocate’s home of which he was a guard.
There was born the idea of Super 30 ,selecting 30 of the most deserving and poor students who were denied opportunities and training them for IIT entrance. Anand generated finances by his other tuitions and his mother Jayanti Devi cooked food for the 30 students.Anand took care of everything for these students ,tutored them, fed them, took care and made them to work hard. From 13 out of 30 students making to the IIT in 2003 the super 30 gave an astounding performance of 30 out of 30 in 2008,it still continues year after year………………and the rest is history.
That was Anand’s Journey in his own words and my curious mind asked him more questions and here the interview continues……..
ME – What is Education for you?
ANAND – Education has different meanings for different people. For a poor person it may mean employment , for a man with values ,it may mean sanskaar and for a communist it may mean a right.
For me , Education is a weapon that arms you to fight with any discrimination
,weakness or adversities. It’s a strongest medium to fight , fight back problems, to fight back struggles and to fight back any obstacle that life throws your way.
In 2005, one of my student’s father was murdered at high court premises,the boy called Shyam ratan took up a pistol to take revenge from the murderer. I told to him that the biggest revenge that you can take is to study properly and create that roof for his family that the murderer has taken away. He is doing well now and I believe he took his revenge through education.
ME – What do you think about the educational system of India? Any complaints?
ANAND – Oh! Many complaints. The imbalance between the costly private schools and the government schools with scant resources should end. This huge gap should end,education is for all and it should be made for all – Equal and nothing less than that.
ME – Any time in life do you sit back and think that you could have done better, published many papers, may be an Abel prize one day, more money? Any regrets on giving back to society when the society had failed you in your times of need?
ANAND- Absolutely not!! When 200 -300 people came with me to PMCH just to support me during my father’s death , I realized that a poor may not have money but he does helps. And I am very contempt with my life. I have the greatest treasure one can get – it’s the respect ,respect of my students, respect of society, respect of people like you who come to write a blog on me.
Money is not everything na , infact money is nothing.
ME- I have read that you don’t accept any kind of donations for Super 30? How do you manage then?
ANAND- I divert whatever I earn from my other tuitions for Super 30.We have started an online class for 1 rs a class ,a book is being written on me to be published by Random house and penguin ,I am planning to use the royalty from it again for Super 30.
The Chief Minister of Bihar Mr. Nitish Kumar has asked me endless number of times” Do you need any money anand?” I smile and I refuse, he is a great man and he wants to help me but I am quite sure that we won’t ever take any donation from anyone for Super 30.
ME – What else you love ……of course less than Mathematics?
ANAND- Music ,I once wanted to learn music but now retired to be a good listener, I enjoy table and violin and make it a point to keep me distressed through music
And yes ,I am a foodie ,I love eating :-)
ME – I am sure my readers and your admirers would like to know about Mrs. Anand Kumar? Was it a love or an arranged marriage?
ANAND ( With a shy smile and totally avoiding using the word love marriage……..that was the cutest expression on his face ) My wife Ritu Rashmi, it was not an arranged marriage. We liked each other and decided to marry ( SEE, I told you he said Liked :-) )
The families were dead against it as it was an inter caste marriage but with the help of Abhyanand ( A police officer earlier associated with Super 30 ) ,they agreed and we got married.
She is an IITian, an avid reader and manages everything related to Super 30. I am not mincing words when I say that I could not have imagined for a better wife. She is a pillar of support in my life, she manages everything for me and even cooks’ food for the Super 30 students if helper is not around. She could have a great career in any country of her choice but she chose to be with me, in Bihar supporting me in my work and believing in my vision.
The world may be proud of me but I am proud of my wife.
ME- What lies ahead? How do you see the future?
ANAND- I am planning to make this bigger so that no child is denied opportunity just because of lack of resources. I have just started online classes and in future , I want to open up a model school in every district where students are just students , not poor or rich.
ME – If a movie is made on your life ,who would you want to be playing Anand Kumar?
|Thank You Rahul for helping me in reaching Anand Kumar|
ANAND – Anurag Basu is planning a movie on me , he has come over a few times and has casted Ranbir Kapoor in it. So I think it is already in loop
( we would love to see this amazing story to be turned into a film!!!!!)
ME – Last question….If your father had been around today ,would he have been happy with your decision to start Super 30 and not pursuing your higher studies at Cambridge?
ANAND – (A visibly sentimental Anand, it was hard for him to speak) This question was never asked to me. My father was god to me, people remember god in their ups and downs,I remember my father. He was always ready to help anyone in his time for need not for name, not for credit but just because he was a good human being. My oldest memories of him go back to the time when I was a kid and we both used to wake up at 6 in the morning. He made two cups of tea and over tea we discussed, discussed everything from politics to society and after that he used to say me “Pranaam ( a kind of greeting someone out of respect ) , a pranaam because I was so well read and had views on everything and he adored that.
In those years the department that my father worked in distributed a suit’s clothing and a torch among his employees every two years. In 1994 when I got admission into Cambridge, he went to tailor and got a suit stitched for me enthusiastically. That same year he left us.
I have never ever got a suit stitched for me till day even if I can afford now.
I miss him every day and I know that he is looking upon us and is proud of Super 30.
ME – Thank You so much Anand for sharing the story of being Super 30’s Anand Kumar for us, the story that I would always carry in my heart. Any words for the “Sakshat” column on blog bringing out positive stories from all across the world.
ANAND- I am very happy about this initiative, This is each one of us responsibility to spread positive news, stories of motivation , stories of people who are setting an example in society and stories of “be the change”. I hope this brings out a much needed positive change in society.
We leave from a small home in a dusty lane, a home internationally acclaimed as Super 30 and the only thought I am left with is:
“ Nothing will change if you change nothing “
Thank you Anand Kumar for giving back to the same society that failed you once , Thank You Anand Kumar for shaping the future of children who would have been lost in the run of livelihood and would have never entered IIts even if they were capable enough.
THANK YOU ANAND KUMAR