On the line of Anand Kumar’s Super 30, a noble initiative in Odisha to teach medical aspirants from the poor families received appreciations from Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan among others. Zindagi foundation was run by tea-seller turned teacher Ajay Bahadur Singh to mentor poor students aspiring to crack the NEET exam while bearing their food and lodging expenses.
Roshan who played the role of Anand Kumar in the recently released Super 30 took to twitter to appreciate the efforts of Ajay Bahadur Singh. “What a fantastic initiative. Kudos to you, Ajay Bahadur Singh,” tweeted the Bollywood actor.
What a fantastic initiative. Kudos to you, Ajay Bahadur Singh. https://t.co/3GEpiXj6GW
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) September 12, 2019
‘Zindagi’ also drew appreciation from Anand Kumar, who had pioneered the initiative in Bihar way back in 2002 by providing free food and lodging along with regular tuitions to 30 meritorious students willing to crack JEE exams.
“It’s heartening to see that the concept is inspiring people like Ajay Bahadur Singh, who has launched a similar effort,” Kumar told PTI.
Others who have extolled the ‘Zindagi’ programme include writer and director Ratan K Gupta, filmmaker Harshan Shankar and Punjab’s ex-education minister Amarjeet Singh.
Singh, who had to give up his dream of becoming a doctor early in life and sell tea and sherbet to sustain his family, said “kind words” from different sections of the society have boosted his confidence. “It will inspire me to serve the society with greater dedication,” he told PTI on Sunday.
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Currently, the ‘Zindagi’ programme is mentoring and providing for 19 students, selected through a statewide screening test, in the state capital. Last year, 14 of its students had cracked NEET, 12 of whom secured admission in government medical colleges.
Senior coordinator of the Zindagi Foundation, Shiven Kumar Choudhry, said the accolades received from a large cross-section of people have helped the students firm up their resolve to do well in life, some of whom hail from families of vegetable sellers, fishermen and marginal farmers.
As “guru dakshina” (fees), Singh said, the students are told to take a pledge that they would never turn away “hapless patients with empty pockets”.
Asked why he chose to name his educational programme “Zindagi’, he said, “It is inspired by the thought ‘zindagi jeetna sabhi chahte hain, par kissi aur ki zindagi jeetna sab ki bas ki baat nahin hain’ (everybody wants to triumph in life, but it’s rare to win over others).