Barpeta: Manik Pal dazzled viewers across the country to win popular TV reality show "India's Got Talent" this year but as a boy had faced hunger and was sent to his maternal uncle's house in a different state to finish his schooling.
Manik, who has now returned to his birthplace Barpeta Road in Assam, recounted his struggle to reach the top at the felicitation programme hosted for him.
The youngest of three siblings, he had lost his father Harun Pal to extremist violence in 1999 when he was just five years old.
"My family had to face starvation after the death of my father, who was the sole earning member. But I overcame the hardship with my strong will power and self confidence."
Manik was sent to his maternal uncle's house at Cooch Behar in West Bengal when he was in class seven and finished school there.
He went to Kolkata and then to Mumbai in search of a job and in the midst of all the hardship took training in gymnastics and ariel dance, he reminiscenced.
He had taken part in various dance competitions before the reality show of Colors television channel "India's Got Talent". He won the grand finale on June 28.
Manik was today felicitated by the police authorities and then taken around in a procession as people thronged on both sides of the road to see him. His mother, dance coach and district police chief were among those present.
He had been a recipeint of a scholarship under Assam police's 'Ashwaas' scheme since 2003.