Chandigarh: One is the son of a grocer, one`s father sells chole-kulche from a cycle cart and the third`s runs a mobile repair shop - but all three have risen from these humble surroundings to crack the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) entrance exam, considered one of the most difficult in the country.
It was coaching from the Patna-based Super 30, which helps economically backward students crack the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), that was behind the success of Jatinder Singh (rank 656), Satish Kumar (rank 2,041) and Priyanka Sharma (rank 5,324).
"My son is a very hardworking boy and excellent in studies right from the beginning. We attribute his success to his own efforts, Super 30 and to god`s grace. He is literally addicted to studies and usually forgets about food and water while studying," Jatinder`s father Raj Kumar said.
Raj Kumar, a resident of remote Majha village in Sangrur district, sells "chole-kulche" to earn his living.
"We have a small house and Jatinder did not have any separate room for studies. However, he never complained and sat in one corner and quietly kept studying. He was an all-rounder and at times also helped me in my work. Now I am planning to take a bank loan to finance his studies. I hope our days of struggle will soon be over," said an elated Raj Kumar.
All the three were beneficiaries of a 2011 alliance between Super 30 and US-based Bhai Jaitajee Foundation (BJF) to provide an opportunity to poor children in Punjab. They were selected through an entrance exam.
Priyanka`s father, who lives in Punjab`s industrial city of Ludhiana, is euphoric.
"I am a proud father. I always wanted my daughter to study in IIT and she has fulfilled my dream. Last year she missed this seat by only 36 marks but she did not lose hope," Ram Kumar, who runs a small mobile repair shop and resides in the Sham Nagar area of the city, said.
"Last year also she had got admission in the chemical engineering department at Panjab University but she left it and joined Super 30 as getting into IIT was her sole aim," he added.
The response of Satish`s father was also the same.
"Satish has secured the 2,041st rank and we are very happy. It is our dream to see him becoming a big officer. Yes, my son had faced many difficulties but now I do not want to remember the past. We are only looking ahead," his father Ashok Kumar said.
"I had talked to my son over the phone and he was also very happy. Satish is a hardworking boy and he stayed in Bihar for nearly nine months, taking coaching for this exam. He is expected to return home in a couple of days," said Ashok Kumar, who owns a grocery shop in Dhadrian village of Sangrur district.
The three students are still in Bihar and will return home in a couple of days.
Responding to their success, BJF chairman Harpal Singh said: "This heralds a new ray of hope for the underprivileged students staying in small villages. We are extremely happy with the results and thank Super 30 for giving this opportunity to children of Punjab."
"We are again conducting an entrance test for Punjab students to join the Super 30 programme for the year 2011-12. It will be conducted on June 5 at Patiala. Selected students will get one-year free coaching for IIT-JEE 2012. All details are available on www.bjfindia.org," he added.
Students from poor families have to pass a competitive test to get into Super 30 and then commit themselves to a year of 16 hours-a- day study routine. Coaching, food and accommodation are free for the students.
Anand Kumar, who runs the institute, said it is supported by the income generated from his Ramanujam School of Mathematics, which has students who can afford to pay fees.
The Super 30 was started by Anand along with Bihar`s Additional Director General of Police Abhyanand. Three years back, Abhyanand dissociated himself from the institute.