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Forgotten Newsmakers | Sushil Kumar, The Motihari Corepati Who Wants To Save The Indian Sparrow

KBC jackpot winner Sushil Kumar, who worked as a computer operator, had once aspired to become a government off­icer but gave up the effort after the KBC ­success

Forgotten Newsmakers | Sushil Kumar, The Motihari Corepati Who Wants To Save The Indian Sparrow
Winning Smile | Photograph by PTI
Forgotten Newsmakers | Sushil Kumar, The Motihari Corepati Who Wants To Save The Indian Sparrow
outlookindia.com
2019-07-19T15:04:02+05:30

“Computerji, lock kar diya jaye?” Eight years ago, when Sushil Kumar said yes to Amitabh Bachchan, he became the first winner of an incredible Rs 5 crore, the first jackpot in the Indian television show Kaun Banega Crorepati. And within minutes, this unassuming MA in history from the sleepy town of Motihari in Bihar became a celebrity, his name splashed across newspapers, his sound bytes played over and over again on TV. Today, his name would hardly ring a bell. But Kumar is content with life away from the spotlight.

“Being a pragmatist, I knew all along that it was always going to be 15 minutes of fame,” Kumar, 31, tells Outlook. “I am from an ordinary family…I realised that those moments had a very short lifespan.” He took home the prize-money of just over Rs 3.5 crore after tax deduction, built a house where 18 members of the extended family stay together. He is the ­father of a daughter, 5, and a toddler son.

The house he built with his prize-money.

Photograph by Ajit Verma

Kumar, who worked as a computer operator, had once aspired to become a government off­icer but gave up the effort after the KBC ­success; hounded by the media and autograph-seekers, he hardly found time to study. Kumar is now into social service and environmental activism; he finances the education of 100 children from economically weak families.

He is passionately involved in a campaign for protecting the house sparrow, whose numbers have come down drastically in ­recent times. He launched his project on March 20 when the world was celebrating ‘World Sparrow Day’. Last...

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