The success story of ‘Super 30’, a tutorial programme that prepares 30 students from economically backward sections for the IIT-JEE every year, is set to hit the theatres this Friday.
Sons of salesmen, vendors and daily wagers cracking the JEE Advanced — these are some of the success stories from Super 30 in Bihar and the story of the man behind it—Anand Kumar— is as motivating as well as riddled with controversies.
Born in Patna’s Gaudiya Math to a post office clerk, Anand got an opportunity at the prestigious Cambridge University, but couldn’t attend because of his financial condition and sold papads in the evenings instead. He dealt with his own fate and situation by setting up ‘Super 30’ under the banner of ‘Ramanujam School of Mathematics’ in partnership with Abhyanand, an IPS officer who went on to become Additional Director General of Police, in 2002 to prepare underprivileged students for the IIT JEE examination.
After deciding on this innovative venture, Anand decided to hold an entrance exam to test the potential of the students. Out of them, he would pick the top 30 students and prepare them for the IIT-JEE free of cost. As the folklore goes, he would house the students nearby and provide them food cooked by his mother.
From 2003 to 2006, Kumar’s Super 30 students studied in a tin shed near his house in Jakkanpur. Later, he integrated them with other students at his Ramanujam School of Mathematics in Kumhrar where he coaches around 5,000 students for IIT and other entrance examinations. READ | Super 30 movie review: The Hrithik Roshan starrer is way less than super
However, in 2010, Abhyanand and Anand Kumar parted ways, starting their own Super 30s. Kumar’s Super 30 has an astonishing success rate and, on average, 27 to 28 of the 30 students crack the exam every year.
In 2008, for the first time all the 30 students picked up for Super 30 batch qualified IIT JEE. The same was achieved in 2009, 2010 and 2017.
A case in point is of Anup Kumar, who hails from Rafiganj in Gaya. Anup said Kumar’s help and guidance made all the difference. “Anand Sir funded our stay, food and education for eight months,” Anup, whose father went missing four years ago, had told the Indian Express.
With success, global recognition followed too. Anand featured in People’s magazine and his initiative was celebrated as one of the four most innovative schools in the world by Newsweek magazine.
However, Anand Kumar has been dogged by allegations of fraud and litigation in recent years. In 2018, a PIL was filed against Kumar in the Gauhati High Court by four students of IIT-Guwahati, who alleged that the teacher’s claim that 26 of his 30 students cleared the IIT-JEE entrance exam was false. They claimed that only three of them cracked the test.
The students claimed that Kumar never disclosed the names of these students before the IIT exam so it cannot be verified that those students who had qualified were the same ones who had studied at Super 30.
The Guwahati High Court had issued a notice to Anand, asking him to respond to the PIL filed by the students. The mathematician has reportedly not responded to the PIL, which asked him to reveal the names of the 26 students who got admission in IIT in 2018.
The petitioners had approached the High Court this year again just weeks before the release of the movie. They contended that while a court case is on how could a film be released that is celebrating his life. The HC has asked Anand Kumar via a notice to respond to the PIL.
“I do not take any grant or donation from anyone. Our prime minister, corporators, business tycoons like Mukesh Ambani or Anand Mahindra have offered donations, but I haven’t accepted anything… I only want to do good work in the field of education,” Kumar had told PTI after the controversy erupted.
In July 2018, a PIL was filed in Patna High Court seeking a CBI probe into the functioning of Kumar’s group. In his PIL, High court advocate Manibhushan Pratap Sengar claimed Kumar showed students of other institutes as his own and sought inquiry into the financial activities of Super 30.
However, despite the controversies, Anand Kumar’s Super 30 continues to achieve commendable success, with 18 out of 30 candidates cracking the JEE Advanced this year.