Harnessing the True Potential – Bihar

Posted on July 16, 2010 in Society

By Shashank Saurav:

Yesterday while going through the early morning newspaper my eyes fell on a certain news item. In essence, it described the meteoric rise of a young prodigy who at the age of 22 has become an assistant professor in IIT Mumbai. Tathagat Avatar Tulsi (photo on right) is the youngest person in India to achieve this monumental feat. He might also be holding a record by completing his PhD in Quantum Computing at the age of 21. It is easier for guys like me to understand the significance of this achievement because completing the graduation itself seems like a Herculean task, forget post graduation. Thus this person epitomizes himself perfectly as a paragon of intelligence and knowledge.

But the point I will be raising here is not about young India shining or people cracking entrance exams at a very young age. What you might not have noticed was that this genius hails from Bihar. Moreover, this is not the one and only case. All of you certainly must have heard about the Super Thirty. It is what I call a Coaching NGO. Anand Kumar and Abhayanand (Additional Director General of Police) officer run this. The organization selects 30 students in Bihar who come from poor background and whose parents cannot provide quality education to their wards. It bears their daily expenses as well as prepares them for IIT-JEE by coaching them for 2 years.

Anand Kumar, one of the tutors at the Super 30 coaching teaches his students. Courtesy: http://www.bihartimes.com/news07/May/3158.html

One of the reasons for doing this as put forward by Mr. Anand Kumar, the Math Teacher is - As a student, he had received offer from a foreign university to pursue his studies abroad but had to pass that because he could not afford it. Since he did not wish to see other talented students suffer the same fate, he started this unique method of providing coaching as well as paying his debt to the society.

You might also have come across the odd yet appreciable case of the son of a rickshaw puller or an auto driver getting through the JEE. Again what is noticeable is the fact that most of these kids are from the rural regions of Bihar. Their struggle against poverty and lack of resources combined with their grit, determination and effort when channelized in the right direction eventually leads to success.

Another case that needs to be highlighted is that of the Weavers’ village. This village is located in the interiors of Bihar. The people there had meager earnings and it remained inconspicuous until the last decade. The trend that started 10 years back has picked up pace now. Every year around 10 students from this underdeveloped and impoverished region crack the JEE. They study under streetlights or use candlelight and share books which are generally provided by those who have completed their graduation despite having their roots in this village. Gradually the village is becoming prosperous economically but the coruscation of the actual gem that is the youth cannot be blurred by any financial or economic gain.

A workshop at the Weavers village in Bihar.

Therefore, it is my humble request to one and all to see Bihar in terms of the vast potential stored here in the education field. The negativity surrounding Bihar is because of the spate of political controversies, corruption and unethical fight for power. But most of this blame has to be shared by the politicians and government officials. These kids who continue to strive for success in spite of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles in their path, certainly deserve their share of the limelight more than the callousness of the government. However the decision to provide financial aid by the government to the deserving students who cannot afford the study cost in top-level educational institutions is laudable.

Let us hope that more such steps are taken by the state government to help the meritorious candidates. This in turn will help in improving the image of Bihar and will encourage many successful managers who hail from this state itself to return to their land and help in its growth and development.