Imran Khan’s phone has been ringing incessantly overnight. And television crews landed at his door before daybreak on Saturday.
But for the 34-year-old school teacher, the biggest spotlight fell on him not in his hometown Alwar but at the iconic Wembley stadium in London on Friday night when Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Khan’s name during his address to a large gathering of Indian expats.
“My India is in that Imran Khan from Alwar,” Modi said in his address referring to the teacher’s unique achievement–more than 50 mobile apps which he has made for students. All of them are available for free.
When Hindustan Times reached him on his mobile at Alwar–around 150 km from capital Jaipur – Khan said he was unaware of the Prime Minister’s address till a friend called him late on Friday night.
“I logged onto YouTube to listen to the PM’s speech and haven’t been able to sleep since then. Some TV crews landed at my place at 2 am,” he said.
HT had highlighted Khan’s passion in an exclusive report earlier this year, around the time he had caught the attention of Modi, who has been trying to bridge the digital divide in the country.
However, the mathematics teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school has no formal knowledge in computers and gleaned everything from what he calls “Google gurudev”.
“I began making mobile apps as a hobby. I had made 42 apps when HT wrote about me. Now, there are 10 more, but I didn’t attract attention until the PM mentioned my name,” he said.
In fact, his affair with software development began only in 2005, when he designed a website – www.gktalks.com – to answer general knowledge-related questions.
At an education conference in New Delhi recently, he donated all his apps to the human resources development (HRD) ministry after Union minister Smriti Irani extolled his talent and sought his apps for the common good of the country.
Imran said his apps, available on Google Play, have 3 million installs. In July 2015, they had 18 million screen views.
“It was a small step taken by me as a teacher. It is a big thing for me that our Prime Minister has praised me,” a grateful Khan added.
Imran lives in a two-room house with his wife Kashmiri and their three children – Samiya (15), Saniya (11) and Juner (5).