Anand Kumar is a revolutionary educator.
Thanks to his Super 30 program, many underprivileged children are able to get into Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Anand Kumar was born on 1 January 1973 into a very poor family in Patna, Bihar, India.
His father, Rajendra Prasad was a postal clerk and his job was to sort letters.
His mother, Jayanti Devi was a housewife.
Anand Kumar has a younger brother, Pranav Kumar.
As Rajendra Prasad’s income was very meagre, he couldn’t join Anand Kumar in a decent private school.
So, he studied from a Hindi medium government school in Patna.
Poverty doesn’t deter determination-
In his childhood, his father ingrained in him the importance of education and always motivated Anand Kumar to study well and accomplish great things.
During that time, their joint family used to live in a tiny rented house near a railway track and he didn’t even have sufficient space to study.
So, Anand Kumar used to study under a guava tree near his home and in the night, he studied under a street lamp.
Inspired by Ramanujan-
From a young age, Anand Kumar was very interested in mathematics and took Srinivasa Ramanujan as his role model.
He matriculated in 1987 and during that time Ramanujan’s 100 years birth anniversary was being celebrated.
Many magazines and newspapers widely covered Ramanujan’s success story and at that time, Anand Kumar was even more inspired by him and determined to become a mathematician.
After passing tenth standard, many of Anand Kumar’s friends moved to Delhi for further education.
But as he was poor, he stayed back in Patna and studied at Patna High School, Patna, Bihar.
Later, Anand Kumar joined Bihar National College (B.N.College), Patna University to study B.Sc. (Hons.) Mathematics.
A helpful mentor-
Anand Kumar learnt mathematics from Devi Prasad Verma, Head of Department of Mathematics, Patna University.
On August 10, 1992, he formed a mathematics club by the name, Ramanujan School of Mathematics in Mithapur, Patna and offered a free training programme in mathematics.
Anand Kumar performed research in mathematics under Devi Prasad Verma’s guidance and wrote many papers to several national and international journals and magazines.
As there weren’t sufficient mathematics books in the Patna University, Anand Kumar used to visit the library of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and study there.
At that time, his brother was studying at BHU.
A chance to study from University of Cambridge-
Anand Kumar also wrote papers on number theory and Devi Prasad Verma edited these papers and sent them to London.
Fortunately, his papers on number theory got published in the Mathematical Spectrum.
Then, according to the suggestion of Devi Prasad Verma, Anand Kumar applied for the University of Cambridge to study there.
In 1994, he not only got an admission in University of Cambridge into the Department of Pure Mathematics but was also offered a partial scholarship.
At that time Anand Kumar dreamt of studying in University of Cambridge and later, become a teacher there.
Even though Anand Kumar won a partial scholarship, he couldn’t arrange the remaining money of ₹6 lakh.
His mentor, Devi Prasad Verma also tried to raise some money from the Patna University but he couldn’t succeed.
Many newspapers published Anand Kumar’s story of securing admission to the University of Cambridge and also mentioned his poor financial situation but no one came forward to help him out.
His family’s happiness was short-lived as they couldn’t even afford the plane’s ticket to Cambridge.
But Anand Kumar’s father didn’t accept defeat and tried to obtain a loan from various places but unfortunately, he couldn’t succeed.
So, he dropped his plans to study at the University of Cambridge.
Rajendra Prasad grew very tense with all these circumstances and Anand Kumar tried to calm him down by convincing him that he will continue his further education either in Patna or Delhi.
Losing his father-
On the night of 23 August 1994, Rajendra Prasad grew very depressed as he couldn’t arrange for Anand Kumar’s education at Cambridge.
At 11 PM that night, he suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away.
This made the life of Anand Kumar even more miserable and the responsibility of his whole joint family fell on his shoulders.
Saying no to job-
Anand Kumar was offered his father’s clerical job in the postal department on compassionate grounds.
But he rejected this job as he felt that he couldn’t realise his dream of becoming a teacher by doing the clerical job.
At that time, even though Anand Kumar’s family was struggling for food, they supported his decision.
As his mother was not educated, she couldn’t take the clerical job and his brother also couldn’t obtain that job as he was too young for the job.
One of Anand Kumar’s Sindhi neighbours suggested his mother, Jayanti Devi to make and sell the black gram papad (Urad dal papad) for making a living.
As Jayanti Devi already knew how to make papads, she readily agreed to make them.
So, she started making papads and Anand Kumar used to sell them in the evenings.
He was able to easily sell the papads to his papad loving Sindhi neighbours.
Pranav Kumar also joined to help him in selling papads.
Anand Kumar used to study after selling the papads.
Selling papads became Anand Kumar’s daily routine and a year later, his brother reminded him of his dream of becoming a teacher.
Pranav Kumar suggested that he start teaching the needy students in his locality rather than waiting for an opportunity to go to the University of Cambridge and teach there.
Also, as Anand Kumar had previously struggled a lot as a student, he had empathy for the poor students and so he decided to teach them and this marked his journey of becoming a teacher.
Ramanujan School of Mathematics 2.0-
In 1996, with the money that Anand Kumar saved from selling papad, he rented a room in a school which used to be vacant in the evenings and here he started a new version of Ramanujan School of Mathematics at B.M Das Road, Patna.
In the evenings he began teaching two children belonging to his slum for free.
Later, Ramanujan School of Mathematics was shifted to Ramna Road, Patna.
Thanks to the increasing popularity of his school, the number of students increased to 200 by the end of the first year.
And in another year or two, the number of students increased to 500.
Children used to occasionally donate some money for the school and Anand Kumar used this money to pay the rent of the school.
As he wasn’t able to teach these many students on his own, he hired two of his former students, namely, Amit Kumar and Praveen Kumar as teachers.
Within the next few years, they were teaching almost 1000 students and thanks to this, they were receiving sufficient donations.
In 2000, Ramanujan School of Mathematics was shifted to the Kumhrar venue.
A very poor child-
At that time, the fees for Ramanujan School of Mathematics was very affordable at ₹500 per year.
Some kids who weren’t able to afford this fee were taught for free.
Once a poor child approached Anand Kumar and said that as he was a poor farmer’s child, he can’t pay ₹500 at once.
He requested to pay the ₹500 fee in five installments of ₹100 each.
That child also said that as he didn’t have a house to live in Patna, he was living under the stairs of an acquaintance.
This opened the eyes of Anand Kumar as he realised that children need free education along with proper accomodation and food.
Birth of Super 30 program-
Upon observing the plight of that poor child, Anand Kumar decided to select 30 underprivileged children and provide them with free education, food and accommodation in his house.
Like this, the Super 30 program was started in 2002.
Anand Kumar’s mother took the responsibility of taking care of these children and feeding them.
His brother, Pranav Kumar helped in the management of Super 30 and another teacher, Rahul Ranjan also joined them.
In the evenings, Anand Kumar and the teachers started giving tuition to the privileged children who are willing to pay fees and he started using this fund to run his Super 30 program.
Since the initial years, many people were willing to donate to his Super 30 program, but he politely rejects the donations every single time.
Reason for rejecting donations-
Many affluent industrialists, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), politicians, etc. show their willingness to donate to Anand Kumar’s noble cause of the Super 30 program but he never accepts donations from them.
The main reason for this is that he wants to prove that even without monetary support (donations), it is possible to become successful when one is sufficiently determined.
Education and motivation-
In Super 30, in addition to providing education, Anand Kumar also motivates the children and thanks to this, the children work hard and become successful.
In the first batch of Super 30 itself, 18 out of 30 children got selected into IITs.
In the second year, 22 children got selected to IITs and in the third year, this number increased to 26.
Later, many times, all the 30 children of the Super 30 batch started getting selected for IITs.
Up until now, Anand Kumar trained hundreds of students.
Becoming very popular-
Thanks to his relentless efforts, Anand Kumar received many awards like S. Ramanujan Award, Rashtriya Bal Kalyan Award, etc. and became very popular.
Many politicians also offered him political positions but he rejected all of them in order to continue as a teacher.
Also, Anand Kumar was lured by many coaching institutes but he didn’t budge.
He met many famous personalities like-
- Narendra Modi.
- Amitabh Bachchan.
- Mukesh Ambani.
- Anand Mahindra.
- Nitish Kumar.
- Manmohan Singh, etc.
Anand Kumar also participated in Kaun Banega Crorepati and won ₹25 lakh.
Dr. Biju Mathew authored a book on him by the name, Super 30: Changing the World 30 Students at a Time.
Also, a film had been made on Anand Kumar by the name, Super 30 in which Hrithik Roshan played his role.
This film was released on 12 July 2019 and was a hit.
For many years Anand Kumar has been continuing with his mission of changing the lives of the unprivileged children of India through education.
So, how are you inspired by the biography of Anand Kumar?
Tell me in the comment section below.
Featured Image credit: Joi Ito/Wikimedia Commons
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