March 29, 2020
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To Sir And A Cop, With Love

Two men shatter the myth that entry to the IITs is the preserve of the city-bred privileged youth

To Sir And A Cop, With Love
To Sir And A Cop, With Love
Scores of students every year aim for the IITs. It’s a ticket to social acclaim, financial comfort and professional progress. Preparations for the arduous journey are elaborate. Often it involves rushing from one expensive coaching class to another, burning the midnight oil, attending mock examinations etc. Yet, not many make it to the pearly gates. This is a unique story of two men, Abhayanand and Anand Kumar, who send poor students from rural Bihar to the IITs. This year alone, 22 of their students were successful.

Abhayanand, a 1977 batch ips officer, is currently posted as Inspector General, Economic Offences, with the Bihar government. Two years ago, while coaching his own children for the IIT entrance tests—both IITians now—he thought of the many underprivileged students who didn’t have access to such facilities. Yet many could make it with just a little help. That’s when it occurred that he could start a tutorial for poor rural students. "I felt it was time for me to pay back to society in some way or the other. I took up the challenge," recalls Abhayanand.

His idea was seconded by Anand Kumar, a mathematics teacher. He too came from a poor family and was conversant with the struggles of deprived students. Kumar runs his own coaching institute but was keen on the project. In 2002, the duo began Super 30—a free tutorial to coach 30 bright youngsters from underprivileged families of rural Bihar for the IIT entrance test.

They consulted teachers, principals and schools before shortlisting their first batch of 30 deserving candidates. Most of these students were the children of marginal farmers and from panchayat schools. They were brought to Patna, provided food, lodging and coaching under one roof—free of cost. The intensive course lasted seven months. When the entrance results for 2003 were announced, 18 of the 30 had made it. The experiment was successful. The teachers had dispelled the notion that only those attending expensive coaching institutes and living in big cities could make it to the IITs.

Abhayanand, 50, says coaching the students was a challenge but he was confident of success. A BSc physics topper from Patna Science College, the IG spends his free time with the students and says he has had to brush up on his physics before taking on the assignment.

The Super 30 are selected after rigorous screening and aptitude tests. Anand Kumar, who bears the entire expenses, has set aside a part of his house in Mithapur, Patna, for the centre. Fooding expenses come to Rs 1,000 per month per student. Yet, the frugal lifestyle has not deterred them.

Among those who made it this year are Dilip Kumar, Lokesh Verma, Ved Prakash, Sashi Narayan, Amrendra, Pitamber, Aman Raj and Arun Choudhry. They have already joined the counselling session in the IITs allotted to them. They admit that getting here was a distant dream. But the unusual combination of a cop and a maths teacher has made it possible.

Abhayanand and Anand Kumar are confident that subsequent batches will perform better. Then they hope to increase the number of students. Perhaps others like them could also reach out to the bright sparks who are waiting to be discovered.

They can be contacted at: Road No. 10, Patel Nagar, Patna: 800023, Bihar. Tel: 0612-2282379/2235387.

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