Cobbler’s son makes it to IIT against all odds

The road to success comes through hard work and determination, and Abhishek Kumar Bharatiya has seen more than his share of both. The son of a cobbler, Abhishek has managed to beat the odds and make it to the IIT with a rank of 154 in the SC/ ST category in the entrance examination. His life has been an endless struggle and it’s only his zeal to carry on that saw him reach thus far. Abhishek lives with his parents and three brothers in a 10 ft by 10 ft single room in Gangaganj Machchariya area of Kanpur. It has no electricity and they have to make do with a kerosene lamp.

The priorities of Abhishek, who wishes to become an aerospace engineer from IIT- Kanpur, are to get a job, convince his father to give up his work as a cobbler and help his brothers get admission in reputed schools.

However, getting into IIT comes with a price and his father Rajendra Prasad is not sure whether he would be able to pay for his son’s fees with his meagre income. “I am ready to sell off myself to see my son become an engineer. Let us see if my dream comes true,” Rajendra said.

Abhishek would work with his father as a shoeshine boy and at times would find a job as a labourer to earn some extra money. Talking about his elder son, Rajendra said, “He used to study in the night and help me in my work the whole day. He is a popular shoeshine boy but doesn’t like to do it for obvious reasons. He often used to work as a labourer to earn some extra money for his books and stationery. He was always a serious child who preferred to study rather than play with other kids.”

Having struggled to get decent education throughout his career, he wants the very best for his brothers. “We are happy that he wants to send his brothers to reputed schools. I know that we have to wait for another five years before he completes the course and gets a job. Let us see what is there in store for us,” Prasad said.

His three brothers – Abhijit, Anshul and Aryan – are below 12 years of age and study in a municipal school. Their mother Sangeeta Devi repairs old clothes of poor people and earns about Rs 50 a day. “My husband gets around Rs 100 and I earn Rs 50 in a day. It is not enough for us. But we don’t want to beg. We want to live with our heads held high. My children know how to go ahead with their pride intact. Abhishek never demanded anything from us. The table of my sewing machine would turn into his study table at night. All I did was to ensure that there was enough kerosene in the lantern,” she said.

Abhishek feels he was lucky to get the guidance of Mahesh Singh Chauhan, who made him dream about IIT. “I could get through because I got a chance. My teacher Chauhan inspired me to appear in the IIT exams. I will be the first engineer in the family. But henceforth all my brothers and cousins would prepare for medical and engineering courses,” said a determined Abhishek.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2010. MTNPL. All rights reserved

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