Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ambition Personified

- by Sara Khan

On my first visit to a center, I expected to be overwhelmed. I was expecting stories of heroes emerging out of despair. I think that is what creates most sensation in the mind. What I did not expect was to see such intense passion, will and positivity. These qualities emit from Rangaya Talandi, a student at the automotive center in Kolhapur. He hails from a small village in the tribal area of Central India, but his eyes gleam with ambition and fire.
(Rangaya Talanda, on the right)

Rangaya lives with seven family members- his parents, three sisters and two brothers. His parents are illiterate while his brothers have completed their studies only till the 5th and 7th Standards respectively. But, Ranagayan decided to break tradition and today, he has just one subject to clear to receive his Bachelor’s Degree. When I asked, what motivated him to study, his eyes filled with glee.  He starts by telling us that his younger brother is getting married soon. But, Rangaya can’t even think of getting married or starting a family unless he makes something out of himself. Only then will he feel successful and content! This thought and ambition motivated him to enroll in the Kolhapur Center for Automobile Training.  On many fronts, such a decision was considered very odd. In his village, the only two occupations considered respectable and viable are that of a Policeman or a farmer. His entire family work as farmers. Travelling such a distance, to get trained in mechanics and possibly getting a job in the automobile sector is a bizarre prospect  for many. He had encouraged his siblings to study more or at least aim for something that they are passionate about. But, they had seen too many examples of graduates who were now sitting at home, unemployed. It was him who finally decided to follow his passion- Cars, mechanics & the works!

But, his ambition and maturity doesn't stop right there! Now that he has enrolled in this program, he feels somewhat responsible for bringing up the morale of his fellow students. He wants a career in automobiles to be respectable, comparable to that of a pilot. He wants to see inspirational videos and hear "rags to riches" stories about people who entered the automotive sector. He gives us ideas about mobilization. He tells us about the merits of circulating videos. He tells us ways it would make it easier to connect with possible students. People in smaller villages will always question the credibility of these courses. He says, give the course a face- a face they can relate to- and you will no longer have any trust issues.  As I mentioned before, I expected to witness overwhelming stories. But, instead I found this exceptional student, who not only wants to excel in the course but wants to make sure that youth from small villages like his can benefit from similar opportunities. That’s Rangaya for you! Never backing down, always looking ahead at the big picture. 

Sara Khan recently joined Pratham Institute as a Program Review & Reporting Associate. 

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