The son of a ragpicker cleared the MBBS Exam by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in his first attempt. Newspaper reports say that he got selected to AIIMS Jodhpur. What an incredible story, I thought to myself.
This reminded me of a something that my grandfather would often say, that a lotus will always find a way to bloom, no matter its surroundings.
The Better India got in touch with Asharam Choudhary, the young man who fought all odds to find himself a place at AIIMS Jodhpur.
Having spent all his growing up years in Vijayaganj Mandi village of Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh, Asharam tells me about a local doctor who was visited by everyone from his village. “He wasn’t a very qualified doctor but still managed to help people with their basic ailments. The amount of respect that the villagers gave him always stayed in my mind,” he says.
Apart from this, Asharam also saw was how the doctor earned Rs 50 by prescribing medicines in a span of a few minutes, while his father sorted scrap all day, to barely make a few rupees each day. This left a deep impact on young Asharam’s mind.
Hence, for Asharam, wanting to be called ‘doctor saheb’ and earning money became a big attraction.
With three siblings in the house and only one earning member, Asharam speaks about some of the tough times that they had to endure. “There was not enough money to even get me enrolled in school. In class 5, I was fortunate that because of my capabilities, I gained admission to Navodaya Vidyalaya, a local school in my district,” he says.
Asharam has always been a meritorious student and has ensured that he works very hard to get good grades. When he was in class 10, he was selected for the Young Scientist Award and was chosen by the Silver Zone Foundation Olympiad.
Asharam’s journey has been full of hurdles. Having grown up in a village where there was no electricity and basic amenities like toilets, even dreaming of becoming a doctor was a luxury.
He speaks about one such problem that cropped up.
In 2016, Asharam had applied to Dakshana Foundation coaching in Pune, a centre that trains students from impoverished families from rural India for various engineering and medical courses.
He says, “I was asked to submit a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card for this, and unfortunately the government official at the block who was supposed to issue the card was asking for a bribe. This was when we approached the Additional District Magistrate, Kailash Bundela, who he helped us secure the BPL card, which got me enrolled.”
While he is now pursuing his medicine degree at AIIMS, when asked about how his family feels, he says, “Nothing has changed on that front. My father continues to do what he used to, and the struggles are still real. My parents are delighted that I have got this opportunity and it is now up to me to make a difference.”
Accolades have been pouring in for him from all quarters: from Rahul Gandhi’s congratulatory tweet to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tweet that got Asharam the much needed financial help.
— Congress (@INCIndia) July 22, 2018
Asharam also speaks about the help that his fellow classmates in Jodhpur have been extending to him. “This is a great beginning for me. I am really happy. After completing MBBS, I plan to do Master of Surgery (MS) in neurology,” he tells me, as we end our conversation.
The biggest takeaway for all of us from Asharam’s incredible story is that hard work will certainly pay off. We wish this young man all the very best!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)