(Applause) I would like to start with the real-life story of Santosh. Santosh comes from an extremely poor family, he lives in a remote village of Bihar state. He studied in such a school where teachers never come. The school was without windows and doors. He had no money to buy books.
Every evening he sold vegetables by the side of roads to earn some money for his family, but Santosh was very eager about education. His father knew the importance and power of education. He has studied on his own without the help of a teacher and managed some old books from his friends. Once he came to know about the program ‘Super 30’. He came to me.
I was surprised to see his enthusiasm, passion that he had. He told me that he was ready to do hard work as instructed by me, and I accepted him for my program ‘Super 30.’ After two years he cleared the Joint Entrance Examination of Indian Institute of Technology. (Applause) Everyone knows that the entrance test of the Indian Institute of Technology is known as the toughest examination of the globe.
Despite it, Santosh qualified and became a hotcake of media, even for international media. Many newspapers and magazines around the world covered the story of the struggle of Santosh. It is very important to understand from the story that with hard labor and iron determination, an underprivileged boy could change his life, from a roadside vendor to a very good scientist.
Now Santosh is a scientist in Belgium. and he participated in a great meeting with great scientists. These are not isolated cases. It is really difficult to decide as most of my students are heroes, as they have overcome steep odds. (Applause) Since the beginning, ‘Super 30’ has had 212 similar stories. Some are words of brick levelers, roadside vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers, rickshaw pullers, marginal farmers.
Now I would like to tell you what ‘Super 30’ is. ‘Super 30’ is a program for underprivileged students which I had started. I have seen poverty very closely. I know the pain of poverty.
My father was a low paid employee in the Department of Postal Services of Government of India. I wanted to be a great mathematician and was always busy searching for new results in mathematics. I had written some Mathematical Papers in my college life. And these papers were published in reputed journals. I got an opportunity to study at the University of Cambridge for higher education in Mathematics. But due to a lack of money I could not make it. Suddenly I lost my father.
All responsibility of my family came on my shoulders. I got an offer for the same job as my father by the Government, but I refused the offer and started to teach Mathematics to the underprivileged students under the banner of Ramanujan School of Mathematics. But we needed some money to survive.
My mother made ‘papad’ and I sold it by visiting door to door. Many times customers embarrassed me. Despite that, I never lost my hope and courage. Gradually the rush of students increased, and many programs became famous among the under-privileged students of Bihar. Once a very bright student came to me and requested — He had no capacity to pay even 500 Rupees for a year as my fee, but he assured me that he could pay the amount when his father harvest the potatoes from the Farm.
I asked, “, How will you live in Patna to attend my classes?” He replied that he would live in a small space, under the stairs of the house of a rich man. I was shaken by this event and recalled my days of hardship. This event became a source of inspiration to start the Program ‘Super 30’. I called my brother Pranav Kumar, a talented violinist from Mumbai, and planned to start ‘Super 30.’
Pranav had helped me earlier also, but now he was directly involved. After a screening test, 30 poor but talented students were shortlisted for ‘Super 30’. Initially making all the expenses of 30 Students was not so easy. But my family extended all help in my endeavor.
I generated finance by tutoring students, while my mother Jayanti Devi cooked food for the students. For the student, there was only one goal — To study hard and achieve the goal. After the success, I received a lot of offers regarding monetary assistance. Even Anand Mahindra offered monetary assistance, but I refused politely.
Generally, many people asked, “, Anand, what is the reason you don’t accept financial help?” The reason is very clear, I want to prove even in Bihar, the most backward state of India if you have a keen desire you can do anything as you wish. The resources and infrastructure are not important, only will power is needed for success. (Applause) Then my program… Then my program started running successfully.
I got appreciation, but at the same time, some coaching mafia of Patna organized attacks on me. Three times I was attacked by armed criminals. During an attack, one of my non-teaching staff Munna was injured very badly. His condition was very serious because a knife was stabbed in his stomach. He struggled for life for 3 months in a hospital.
Some of my friends asked me why I was running ‘Super 30’ despite such risk? But I never lost my courage. The Government of Bihar provided two armed bodyguards for the safety and security. They are still with me, but this is the reason for tension for me. After some time I received a lot of happiness when results came.
First-year, 18 student of our 30 qualified IIT-JEE. Second-year 22 got selected, third-year 26, Fourth-year 28, Fifth-year 28 also. And for the last three years, all 30 out of 30 students qualified in the IIT-JEE. (Applause) In the last 8 years, 212 students have qualified in IIT-JEE.
Now there is no attack by the Mafia, but they have resorted to other tactics to take credit for what they have not done. They have started their ‘Super 30’ by prefixing or adding some other name. Like ‘Patna Super 30’, ‘Gaya Super 30’, even ‘Raja Super 30’, ‘Baja Super 30’. In the signboard, they write ‘Patna’,’Gaya’, ‘Raja’ or ‘Baja’ in very small size letters, but ‘Super 30’ in big font. Actually they want to only earn money.
They want to take donations from the Government as well as the private agencies. Almost all newspapers and magazines have covered the story of ‘Super 30’. Discovery Channel broadcasted a one-hour long program on ‘Super 30’. Actress and Miss Japan, Norika Fujiwara visited Patna to make a documentary film on ‘Super 30’.
NHK twice produced two films on ‘Super 30’. Al Jazeera also made a film on ‘Super 30’. TIME magazine has selected… TIME magazine has selected ‘Super 30’ in the list of ‘Best of Asia 2010.’ Recently a news magazine included my school in their list of ‘Four most innovative schools in the World’. Mukesh Ambani has given me an award ‘Real Hero’ for the ‘Super 30’ program.
Now I want to see underprivileged students educated, I want to increase the number of Students in ‘Super 30’ but it is really a difficult task because we are unable to find more students who want to continue their education despite facing poverty.
Mostly a Student with an extremely poor background will start to support their parents by earning money from a young age. So I want to open a school from Class 6 or 5 Free schools like ‘Super 30’! In the school, we will train the students not only for IIT but also for International Mathematical Olympiad, International Physics Olympiad.
I want to see my students as a Nobel prize winner. It is my great dream but I don’t know if my dream will be fulfilled or not, but I know I have to always labor hard for my goal. Presently my school runs under the tin shed room, but I dreamed to make a school from Class 6. For this school we don’t need any money or financial help, we only need your moral support and your blessing.
And presently many Bollywood directors have contacted me. They want to make a Film on my story ‘Super 30’ But I will be privileged if James Cameron makes a film on ‘Super 30’. (Applause) (Speech in Hindi) For doing any work, we don’t need infrastructure, we don’t need money or help. You only need courage.
If you have the conviction, you can do anything. Even a blown-off candle can be ignited again. Even though the most raging thunderous storm, the boat can sail through. Don’t be disappointed, don’t be sad, try to hard work and see — The fate of the poor people of India can definitely change. Thank you. Jai Hind! Jai Bharat! (Applause)