Unlike many others cracking the JEE Mains, the exams were more than just studies for Lekhraj Bheel, whose parents are MNREGA labourers from Jhalawar's Mogayabeeh Bhilan village of Rajasthan. Among several other success stories of the toppers of IIT JEE Mains, here is the story of Lekhraj who heard of the JEE-Main exam only a couple of years ago.
His parents, residents of the tribal village did not even know who is an engineer. "I did not know what an engineer is and could not even dream that my son would become a graduate. Now I'm at the top of the world as he is going to become the first engineer in our local Bheel community and in the village," the elated father, Mangilal said to the media.
He, with his wife Sardari Bai, hope that their son would be able to improve the family's condition and they would not have to continue working as labourers. Lekhraj himself wants to raise awareness about the importance of studies among the children in his village, where most people are illiterate and work as labourers.
"My parents have to work hard to feed the family. I want to complete engineering degree and take care of them," Lekhraj said.
He credits his teacher Jasraj Singh Gujjar, his principal and the director of his coaching institute in Kota. "Lekhraj was good at studies but he was not aware of the career options available to him, and he had not even heard of the JEE exam," Lekhraj's teacher said to the media.
This is not the first time that Lekhraj made his parents feel proud. In class 10, he became district topper from Jhalawar by scoring 93.83 per cent. The then Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje gave him a laptop.
Despite not having teachers for maths and science in school, Lekhraj managed to score 96 and 97 marks respectively in both subjects. He also had to walk for 6 km from his village to school everyday. Impressed with his marks and dedication, his school teachers advised the family to send him to Kota for entrance exam coaching, but they expressed their helplessness due to poverty.
It was then, Jasraj took Lekhraj to Kota and met Naveen Maheshwari, a coaching institute's director, who granted Lekhraj free admission, accommodation and food. He continued his school education and took coaching for the entrance exams in Kota.
"The studies were tough in first few months because of my Hindi medium background but with the teachers' help, the situation improved," Lekhraj said, adding he would study for 7-8 hours a day.