03 December, 2020

The Front-Benchers

They're a study in inspiration. Children who overcome their straitened contexts through sheer grit and desire.

The Front-Benchers
It was a hunger for education that led Prasad Akkanouru to serve food at a small hotel in Nagpur. And as he waited tables for long hours by the day, he waited to study even longer hours at night. Prasad had fled his home in Latur nearly three years ago to escape his parents who had forced him to take up an uninspiring course to become an electrician and later work in a sugar factory. Trawling Mumbai's sidewalks hungry and tired for days, he finally reached Nagpur. To top the year's arts batch of the Class 12 exams of the Maharashtra Board, Nagpur division.

"I didn't even know he had taken the board exams," says a bemused Kusumchand Jain, owner of the hotel where 22-year-old Prasad worked. "When the boy said he wanted to check his result, I told him I hope he would pass!" Prasad did one better, notching up an 86.5 per cent, and now has admission to Pune's prestigious Fergusson College. He now plans to become a civil servant: "My result has given me so much confidence...."

These are the First Among Unequals. Children like Prasad, who run the race with many hurdles in...


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