How IITians help the poor crack IIT-JEE


Patna : A poor waiter in Patna has become a celebrity of sorts after his son cracked the IIT entrance exam this year. The overjoyed man gives full credit to I-Desire – a small group of former IITians in Bihar who coach underprivileged kids and provide them study material.

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Mani Bhusan Singh and his parents are getting privileged treatment in their neighbourhood after the 18-year-old cleared the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).

"I am now one of the most sought after people in my workplace and also my neighbourhood," says a proud Lallan Singh, Mani Bhusan's father.

"I got to know about I-Desire through a friend. They agreed to help my son prepare for IIT-JEE. It wouldn't have been possible if I-Desire had not helped us by providing coaching, study material and a proper guide," said Lallan Singh, a waiter in Hotel Maurya here.

Lallan Singh, in his 40s, said his son could not appear for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exams in Class 10 and 12 due to financial constraints.

"My son wanted to appear for the CBSE exams but due to lack of money I forced him to appear for the Bihar Examination Board exams," said Lallan Singh, who lives in a one-room rented house in Mandiri, a densely populated lower middle class area.

There are 15 other students from underprivileged families here who have made it to IIT thanks to I-Desire.

The former IITians have been funding I-Desire, which provides free coaching for a year and counselling by IITians, explained Grijesh Jha, coordinator of I-Desire and a former student of IIT Kanpur.

"As many as 16 of the 35 boys selected by us cracked the IIT exam this year," Jha said.

I-Desire, a brainchild of Sushil Kumar, another IIT Kanpur product, was set up three years ago to provide help and support to IIT aspirants from the weaker sections of society in Bihar.

Kumar, who hails from Patna, is currently working for a multinational company in Chicago, said Jha.

The project was started in memory of murdered engineer Satyendra Dubey, who blew the whistle on corruption on the national highways project in Bihar.

IIT engineer Dubey, who worked on the Bihar section of the national highways project in Gaya district, was allegedly killed for writing to the Prime Minister's Office on corruption in the project. He was shot dead in Gaya town, about 100 km from Patna, on Nov 27, 2003.