Dileep was one among the 10,000 faceless migrant labourers from Darbhanga and Madhubani, who toil in the fields of Purnia, Bihar, to harvest and process makhana, also known as fox nuts.
Until the 23-year-old decided to change that.
This migrant labourer defied all odds to achieve his dream of becoming a mechanical engineer and became a shining example for the thousands of migrant labourers, after he was offered a job in Singapore!
From having a collective-family income of Rs 2,000-3,000 per month as an exploited agricultural labourer in Bihar to being offered an engineering job in Singapore with an annual package of Rs 8 lakhs, the story of Dileep Sahni is nothing short of inspiring!
While he did work really hard to get where he is, he insists that a greater part of his success is due to the relentless support of his father and brother.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, he says, “It was never easy for me and my family to support my dream of becoming an engineer.”
He recalls how his entire family migrated 245 kms away from their home in Darbhanga to Purnia, every year from July to January just for the harvesting season.
But that did not deter Dileep from pursuing his education. In 2013, he was offered admission at an engineering programme at Millennium Group of Institutions, a private technical college in Bhopal. Lack of money was the biggest impediment. He remembers running pillar to post pleading banks for an education loan but to no avail. Each of them refused to help him.
Before his hopes of becoming an engineer could dwindle to naught, his younger brother, Vijay Sahni, stepped up to help. He shouldered the massive responsibility to get his brother through college by taking up a job at a tiles unit in Chennai to fund his education. Even Dileep’s father, Laltuni Sahni, sold icecreams in Nepal during the non-harvesting season, to help his son in Bhopal.
“Had my father and brother not assisted me with money, I would not have become an engineer,” he told HT.
Dileep is also the first person from the village of Antor to pass Class 10 with first division from JNJV High School, Nawada, Benipur. In no time, he cleared his Class 12 examination from Bahera College, Darbhanga, in 2013.
Even during school, he would frequently travel to Purnia during makhana harvesting season to work as a labourer and earn some money.
And though naysayers in his village continued to mock him for pursuing an unattainable dream, Dileep never stopped working hard. He refused to pay attention and let his results do the talking.
In 2016, the young boy received the topper’s award by the government of Madhya Pradesh, for academic excellence in his engineering programme.
All of his hard work bore fruit, when the Sangam Group, a leading steel company, offered him a job in Singapore with an annual salary of Rs 8 lakh!
While most people may think that this is the happy ending to a life-long struggle, we think that it is only the beginning for the young achiever.
One of the many dreams he has for his village is to help underprivileged migrant child labourers pursue education.
His prime inspiration for the cause is the work of Purnia superintendent of police Nishant Tiwary, who started ‘Meri Pathshala’, an initiative to promote the education of underprivileged children.
We wish Dileep the very best. May he gather continued success and come back to his village to transform the lives of many.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)