Super 30

While many 'newsmakers' are catapulted to almost celebrity status overnight for doing hardly anything of acclaim, many others languish in the shadows despite living for others and helping change the lives of the underprivileged. Many of them remain mere footnotes to history, their extraordinary work almost snuffed out before the gale force of petty sensationalism that the world seems to find more 'interesting'. So here is an attempt to honour those who have done some extraordinary and selfless work in the society, bringing joy to hundreds of lives. This is a salute to the unsung heroes of 2012.

IITs are amongst the world's best and most coveted educational institutions. And IIT entrance exams are tough to crack, not just because of the difficulty level of questions asked but also because of the number of aspirants who compete to get admission here.

However, if you are coached at the Ramanujan School of Mathematics in Bihar, admission to IIT is well within reach. This year, of the 30 students trained here, 27 made it to the IITs. What is special about this coaching centre is that it only teaches students from the lower income families. Students have to pass a competitive test to gain entry in to the Super 30. Once selected, he/she will have to devote an entire year of as many as 16 hours a day to study. Students are given food and accommodation for this duration.

What is remarkable is that the institute does not accept any aid or donation from any individual or the government. It is run primarily by the fees collected from students who can afford to pay.

Anand Kumar, a 39-year-old mathematician who started this coaching centre, knows how tough it is to get a good education if you are poor. A bright student, he used to study in the day and by evening, he helped his mother sell papad to make ends meet. Kumar gained admission at the prestigious Cambridge University but had to give up the dream of studying their because of his poor financial status. That's when he decided he wouldn't let money come in the way of a good education for the needy.

A decade since its existence, the Super 30 banner has only soared higher. Filmmaker Anurag Basu is reportedly making a movie based on Anand Kumar. Let's hope that the movie does justice to the man who has helped shape over a hundred lives and improve the living conditions of their families.

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