In a small village called Mithikuyi near Ahmedabad, seven young men are training 200 Dalit students on how to appear for and crack competitive exams so they can apply for government jobs. Some of these students are college graduates and others have just finished school.
All seven teachers come from Dalit backgrounds. Five of them, including Sagar Jadeja, Brijesh Sonara, Navinchandra T Chauhan, Bharat Jhala, and Dipak Sonara, have government jobs. Other than them, Hitesh Gohil works as a lawyer and Hitesh Jadav aspires to become a police inspector.
They collect funds in the form of donations from the community and run the Spardhatmak Pariksha Abhyaskram Vartul (SPAV) or Competitive Exam Syllabus Circle.
Image for representation purpose only. Source: Flickr
The 200 students want to appear for government competitive exams so they can apply for jobs in the police force or as clerks, teachers, etc. Their routine at the centre includes studying for the exams, drills for physical training and mock interviews to build confidence. The teachers believe that entrance exams are a fair way of leveling students, irrespective of their social backgrounds. Their academic abilities, knowledge-base and potential to succeed determine their future rather than their caste. They also feel that their initiative has become even more important after thousands of Dalits took an oath to say no to menial work like disposing of animal carcass, etc. in Sabarmati area.
Sagar Jadeja told The Times of India that they were inspired to educate students from a marginalised section of the society after reading about the Super 30 initiative in Bihar where students from underprivileged backgrounds receive coaching for engineering and medical entrance exams. Last year, Super 30 helped three Dalit students gain admission to medical colleges in India.
“If Dalits get into police and administration, they can be helpful in raising voice against atrocities,” Dhiru Parmar, who is studying for the exam that recruits people for the post of the police sub-inspector and whose father is a daily wage labourer, told The Times of India.