Calcutta, Aug. 28: Sujit, Sandip, Manjur, Atanu and Aurangzeb had merit on their side but not money.
After exceptional performances in the Higher Secondary examination ' and four of them also in Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) ' they and their families thought this was the end of their budding academic careers.
Three of them wanted to become doctors but could not rustle up the around Rs 21,000 each needed to take admission in a college. The fourth wanted to be an engineer. Aurangzeb, the fifth boy, did not even have the money to sit for the JEE.
All five had resigned themselves to a future as a hawker or a bidi factory worker when their stories appeared in The Telegraph in June.
A flood of response followed, with readers calling in with offers of help. Today, four of them are going to medical colleges and Aurangzeb is getting ready to write his JEE, with assistance from their benefactors.
Here are their stories:
Hailing from Hanskhali in neighbouring Nadia district, Sujit came 142nd in the JEE after collecting a mammoth 837 marks in Higher Secondary. The son of a weaver with a monthly income of Rs 500, admission to a college was the last thing on Sujitís mind (reported on June 17) when readers of this paper came to his aid. Sujit has secured admission in SSKM Hospital, which now offers MBBS courses.
The Howrah boy was a passionate street-cricketer who took time out from his games to study and didnít do too badly either. He had a rank of 113 in the medical entrance and 314 in engineering, but not the means to pursue a career (reported on June 13). Moved by his plight, a few Calcuttans offered help. Atanu decided to study medicine at NRS Medical College.
Father Nirmal had studied till Class IX, but he was determined that Sandip should make something of himself. The West Midnapore boy grabbed the 13th position in the JEE. But since Nirmal earned only Rs 2,000, Sandip decided to forget about higher studies (reported on June 10). An NRI stepped in to help as did some local people. Sandip is now studying at Medical College and Hospital.
Even after a rank of 200 in the JEE, Manjur (reported on June 8) had started helping his father Iqbal out at a tea stall in Burdwan. On a Monday earlier this month, Manjur attended his first MBBS class at Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital. Two corporate sponsors and his neighbours are funding his studies.
He scored 867 in the Higher Secondary examination. Aurangzeb wanted to appear for the JEE, but could not. His father is a daily labourer. After reading about him (reported on June 13), a Howrah-based mission came forward to help. Aurangzeb is now preparing for JEE 2006.