It was nothing short of a fairy tale for a rickshaw-puller’s son to walk into the prestigious IIM-Lucknow after cracking CAT.
For years, Yogendra Singh grazed cattle, milked cow and slept without food. But his father-in-law, a primary school teacher stepped in and funded his education on the surmise that he would return the money after getting a job.
A native of Daltonganj in Jharkhand, this engineering graduate, works on a borrowed laptop from a distant relative while back home his friends pool money to support his family to maintain their livelihood.
Growing up in poverty and now a student of IIM Lucknow, for Yogendra, life was full of struggle. “For months, me and my family of 7 siblings slept at night without food. It was a routine. Getting up early next day and grazing cattle was the order of the day as I was eldest among all brothers and sisters. While father pulled rickshaw, I milked cow,” he said.
But in the face of difficulties, he continued his studies often under streetlight.
After getting an engineering degree from BIT Dhanbad in 2011, Yogendra took up a job and worked for 3-4 years to get his sister married. “As my father barely makes ends meet, the onus was on me to shoulder family’s responsibilities. It was after my sister’s marriage, I again decided to resume studies and studied extremely hard to get into IIM, which was my ultimate dream,” he said.
“My worry increased manifold when I got a call from IIM Lucknow. There was no money. Whatever little savings I did was all spent in my sister’s marriage. I virtually dropped the idea of seeking admission into IIM-L,” Yogendra said.
His father-in-law, Vinay Singh, encouraged him to continue with his studies. “He gave me the initial amount of R50,000 and helped me in getting educational loan from bank. It was due to his intervention that I succeeded to walk into the portals of IIM-L campus,” he said.
But even at IIM-L, family worry still chases him. There is pressure from his parents that he should quit and take up some job because family is reluctant to live on his friends’ money.