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Super 30: Anand Kumar’s Journey to Empower Underprivileged IIT Aspirants

He coaches underprivileged IIT-JEE aspirants. He finances their study and lodging. He is an Indian Mathematician and a columnist for several national and international journals. He is famous for his Super30 initiative, which he began in Patna, Bihar. He is Anand Kumar. Till 2015, 333 out of 350 students of his got admitted to IITs. Discovery Channel telecasted his efforts in a documentary film.

Anand Kumar was a native of Patna, Bihar. His father, a Postal Department clerk, could not manage to pay for the private schooling of his children. Hence, he studied in a Hindi medium government school. There Anand felt a deep passion for Mathematics. In graduation, he made a paper on Number Theory. That was printed in Mathematical Spectrum and The Mathematical Gazette. Therefore he got the chance to admit to Cambridge University. But unfortunately, he couldn’t join because of his father’s death and extreme financial crisis. In between that, he tried for sponsorship in Patna and Delhi, but nothing came out. Hence, Kumar tried to adjust to the situation. He used to work on mathematics during the day, and in the evening, he used to sell papads with his mother. A small home-based business started by his mother to support the entire family. Anand also started tuition on mathematics for money. In those days, Anand was investing most of his time in mathematics. He used to go to Varanasi every weekend on a six-hour train journey to read international journals. He would spend his whole weekend at the Central Library of Banaras Hindu University. Then he came back to Patna on Mondays.

Anand Kumar started teaching mathematics formally in 1992. He rented a room in Patna for 500 rupees and began his coaching center at Ramanujan School of Mathematics with two students. Within a year, his students increase to 36. After three years, it grew to 500 student strength. Then it was 2000 when a poor student came for IIT-JEE coaching. That student couldn’t afford the annual admission fees. That incident somehow touched Anand’s heart. That student highly inspired him to start the Super 30 program in 2002. Anand Kumar is now world-famous for his Super 30 initiative.

Super 30 is an Indian educational program. The program started in 2002 under the Ramanujan School of Mathematics in Patna by Anand Kumar. The program selects 30 commendable, educated and talented students from underprivileged backgrounds and trains them in one year for IIT-JEE. They sit for the entrance examination of the Indian Institute of Technology. Anand teaches and provides all notes for the examination. He arranges food and lodging for one year for these poor students. Anand’s mother cooks for them, and his brother Pranav Kumar looks after the management.

In the first year, 18 out of 30 made it. In the duration of ten years 2003 to 2014, 308 students out of 350 have made for IIT-JEE. In 2010 all 30 students passed the entrance exam. The Super 30 program got huge popularity among students. They started receiving more applications. This brought a murderous attack on Anand and his Super 30 center. The state government provided security for Anand and from the 2005 batch. That year in 2005, 26 students made out of 30. The next year IIT changed the examination pattern; still, 28 students passed out of 30. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar felicitated the students with a cash prize of 50 thousand each. In 2008, all the students cleared the entrance exam. Anand’s former students also joined him in his innovative mission. Anand Kumar has no financial support for running the Super 30 program. He manages the whole program on the tuition fees he earns from Ramanujan Institute. After the success of Super 30, this program got immense popularity, leading to many offers from national and international private organizations. The government also showed interest in helping him. But he refused to all. He never received any donations for his dream project. He wanted to continue this program through his earning. His team earned funds by organizing evening classes in Patna.

Anand Kumar got huge popularity and respect for his effort. Discovery Channel telecast an hour-long program on Super 30 in March 2009. The New York Times has published a report on him on half of a page. Kumar has been presented in a program by BBC. Japan actress and former Miss Japan Norika Fujiwara came to Patna to make a documentary film on Anand’sinitiative. He has shared his experiences at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, various IITs, the University of British Colombia, Tokyo University and Stanford University. His name was registered in the Limca Book of Records 2009 for providing free coaching to poor students. Time Magazine recognized Anand’s Super 30 in the list of Best of Asia in 2010. Super 30 received acclamation from Rashad Hussain, the special representative of the President Barak Obama of the United States of America. He named it the “best institute of the country”. Newsweek Magazine has praised the initiative of the mathematician Anand Kumar’s Super 30 and included his institute in the list of four most innovative schools worldwide.

In 2010, the Bihar Government honored Anand Kumar with the prestigious Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad Shiksha Pusraskar. He was also honored with the S. Ramanujan Award by the Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences. He also received Prof. Yashwant Rao Kelkar Yuva Purashkar 2010 by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bangalore. Europe’s magazine Focus nominated Anand Kumar as “one of the global personalities who can shape exceptionally talented people”. British magazine Monocle has selected Anand from 20 pioneering teachers worldwide. British Colombia Government and Canada also honored him for his initiative. Anand Kumar was deliberated by admired Ramanujan Mathematics Award at the eighth National Mathematics Convention in Rajkot. He received an honorary Doctorate of Science from Karpagam University, Coimbatore. Mathematician Kumar received Maharishi Ved Vyas from Madhya Pradesh Government.

He has been invited by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University to speak on his world-famous initiative to train underprivileged students for admission to IIT.

Anand Kumar’s contribution to the film Arakshan. He prepared Big B Amitabh Bachchan for his role in the film. Till now, many Bollywood directors have shown their interest in making a film about him.

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