Janishar Ansari has become a local hero in his hometown Haffua in Jharkhand. The 16-year-old who wrote this year’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exam is the first from the village to score a full 10 cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
What’s more interesting though is that he owes his high grade to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-run school he studied at in Patratu.
Mentored by a right-wing Hindu nationalist group leader, Ansari is an austere Muslim with a fair knowledge of the Vedas and Sanskrit.
He is now an inspiration for scores of other children from the Muslim-dominated Haffua village comprising of peasants, daily wage workers, small-time traders and businessmen.
Not long ago, Haffua was infamous as a colony of criminals. The mere mention of Haffua was a red flag for police and intelligence agencies. A majority of culprits in bank robberies and snatching incidents in Ramgarh and Ranchi districts could be traced to this hamlet.
But senior RSS leader, SN Singh’s social interventions saw the village undergo a huge makeover, turning it into a one of the most progressive villages in the sub-division.
It was during one of his visits to Haffua to pick up youngsters for mechanical training that Singh spotted Ansari.
“With the permission of his parents, I brought him to Patratu, enrolled him with the local Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir (SSVM) and arranged for his travel and accommodation. Eight years on, he has transformed into a meritorious student and a fine human being,” said an evidently proud Singh.
Ansari is just as proud of his success, and attributes it to Singh and the school.
“Sir (Singh) is my mentor, guardian and guide. He trained my father and employed him in his engineering firm and then took up the responsibility to support my studies. I am happy that I could deliver and become a role model for other children of my neighbourhood,” he said as he touched his mentor’s feet .
Considering that he moved villages to get an education when fairly young, Ansari says the experience also moulded him. The different environment changed his outlook and furthered his want for an education.
“At my school, the emphasis is more on gaining knowledge than attaining degrees,” he said.
School principal, Shiv Kumar Choudhary, is also all praises for the teen.
“He has a knack to excel and we only polished his skills,” he said.
Eighty-six students from the school appeared for the board exams this year, but only seven scored a 10 CGPA; Ansari was the only Muslim student among them.
His success has triggered a rush among Muslim families for admission to the RSS run-SSVM school.
Currently, around 20 Muslim students are enroled at the school, but requests for admissions from families in and around Haffua have been pouring in.
Most proud of Ansari is his father. Pleased that his son received the educational support he did from the school, Md Nezam said, “He has transformed into a fine individual and I am proud of his achievements.”
Nezam works as a supervisor with Singh’s civil construction firm, Kalpatru.
So what does Ansari want to pursue now?
The youngster said he had initially planned of studying chemical engineering from IIT, but now wants to become a chartered accountant.
“I do not want to become an engineer and involve myself in making weapons of mass destruction. I cannot think of harming others. Hence, I want to serve the country by supporting and boosting business,” he said of his decision.