Being from a humble background, he always thinks to do something different. And this thought led him to start preparing for IAS exam. During his preparations, he got to meet Anna Hazare that moved him to take action against the scourge of corruption. He felt that education could be the best way to fight the menace. He requested him to start a small learning centre in his village. However, his hopes didn’t materialize owing to Anna’s busy schedule.
Story Behind the name of Vikalpa
During that time, he met a boy named Devender, belongs to a poor family from Mandia Khurd, a village in Haryana’s Rewari district, on the IIT Delhi campus. Devender also aspired to go to an engineering college but didn’t have enough fortune to join a coaching institute. He has seen himself in Devender that forced him to help him in his preparation. After four months of coaching, Devender made it to IIT Roorkee. This result surprised him to know there was lot of potential in his village, but unable to realise their potential because of lack of money and other resources.
This motivated him to do something. He shared the vision with his batchmates who were working for multinational companies. Initially, they showed eagerness and enthusiasm. However, only two of them turned up on the day he had to go to the village. He was a bit disappointed, but he went to Rewari. And named the trip “Vikalpa” or an alternative. Ironically, in the beginning the locals refused to co-operate with us. They thought he was imposters out there to impress them pretending to be IITians. Still, he didn’t give up. He quickly developed a rapport with a couple of people who proved to be very helpful. Satbir Nahadia was one of them.
Vikalpa Initial Effort, Turn into results
After a few weeks some students joined us half-heartedly. He started teaching them in the Bal Bhawan Park as he didn’t want them to have a free ride. It took six months of motivation and disciplining to bring these students on track. They took the examinations but they were not fully prepared. But one student got selected. Thus the rest of them became very motivated. He advised these students to go to Kota in Rajasthan to avail of good coaching classes. However, the students continued to insist that they would make another attempt only if he was ready to teach them. He was so moved by their faith in his ability that he quit his job and stayed with them supervising them 24×7. And this was how Vikalpa’s journey formally started – an alternative to social change through politics.
Following a whole year of challenges and sacrifices, he started missing his family. But my wife’s relentless reassurances enabled him to continue this project. “Soldier on!” was her constant refrain. The result of the sacrifices proved very fruitful: 15 students out of 18 got selected in IIT Advance.
Next year, things became a little easier in terms of availability of resources as well as students. A few people donated some money also. The last years’ experience helped us understand that students desperately needed more motivation and supervision, instead of just teaching.