Pallavi Sagar, MA, Disability Studies and Action, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, Class of 2021
The beauty of Nalanda Academy is that it takes students from the ground, exposes them to the diversity of global knowledge and turns them into scholars. I am proud that I am part of it. It not only taught me to dream but also provided me a platform to follow my dream. Nalanda not only train us for academic success but also to feel proud for our community, to which we belong.
I come from a small village in Kalahandi district of Odisha, one of the most backward districts of the country which is synonymous with starvation deaths and famine. My parents are agricultural labours. My family do not own any land. So I studied with great financial difficulties. We were introduced to both Babasaheb and Buddha by our elder brother who brought me and my sister along with him to Nagaloka, a Buddhist institution based in Nagpur. It is here that I heard about Anoop sir and Nalanda Academy. I decided after my graduation. So we went back and completed our graduation in Odisha. We had to travel 60 kilometres daily for our classes as we could not afford the hostel fee. But I was very determined and worked hard to become a graduate.
I completed my graduation and then came along with my twin sister to join Nalanda Academy. Finally, in 2018, we became students of Anoop Sir. It was a dream come true. After 8 months of rigorous classes at Nalanda, I got selected in TISS Mumbai for my MA. My sister too got admitted in Gujarat Central University for her integrated MA in Social Management.
Nalanda provided me the opportunities which many students like me are looking for. Today I am a free human being and I can do anything. This spirit came within me through the essence of teachings of Nalanda. Anoop sir always tell us that Nalanda is not coaching class but is a movement and the students like me will have to carry it forward. I sincerely hope to contribute towards this dream throughout my life.
Suresh Kumar, BA (Spanish), Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Class of 2021
Nalanda Academy is a name of possibilities. I don’t have enough words to express my feelings about Nalanda. It has changed my life and gave me a new direction. I am now studying in India’s top university. I feel fortunate to have a teacher like Mr. Anoop Kumar. I have learned everything from Nalanda. If I had not come to Nalanda, then I would not have been here in JNU today.
I belong to Rajasthan, from a very small village Tapra of Barmer district. It is part of Thar Desert, near to India-Pakistan border.It is educationally backward area. Around half of the population is still illiterate. There is little awareness about education. My family too is not educated. My father is a labour and mother a house wife. I completed my schooling from the local school in Hindi medium.
Just after my 10+2, I got information about the Nalanda Academy from some friends from my village who were studying here. They insisted me to join as soon as possible. So I decided to take admission just after my 10+2 exams. Initially I was little scared as Wardha is very far my home and everything here was new for me but meeting Anoop Sir was a great experience. He met me as a friendly elder brother. I enjoyed his lectures the most. I used to get up early in the morning to be able to attend his full lectures. My English was very bad but here I had to read English newspapers every day. I studied many subjects for the first time – Logical reasoning, Economics, Indian Constitution etc. When I joined my educational level was not good but when I left Nalanda I realized that I have learned so many things. Because of that, today I am studying in one of the top universities of India.
Nalanda Academy is a family for me. Nalanda taught me that everything is possible. Now many more students from my village are studying here. They are studying hard and I sincerely wish that they too get all success.
Jyotirao Wankhede, MSc, Climate Change and Sustainability Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Class of 2019
I belong to Bhugaon village in Nagpur district. The village is very educationally backward. But my family, being follower of Babasaheb Ambedkar, was in favour of proper education for their children. So my elder brother got me admitted in semi-English medium school, 10 km away from our home. But because of many family issues, my education got little side-tracked and I had to start working early. I lost my interest in studies and had to complete my graduation from an open university.
I knew Nalanda Academy since its inception due to my cousin Kapil Wankhede. He explained to me its true values and its ability to mould students like me into sharp knowledge seekers. Kapil bhau motivated me to visit the Academy instead of looking for small jobs to make ends meet. Having done my Bachelors in Hotel Management, I absolutely had no knowledge of Social Sciences and opportunities in higher academia.
Once I joined Nalanda, it played a very significant role and provided a helping hand to grow personally and professionally. Today I am studying in one of the top courses, in one of the top universities in India. Without Nalanda it would have been unimaginable. Even if I got admission here somehow, it would have been very tough for me to survive without Nalanda. Professors here use complex terminologies and academic jargons during their lectures, enough to make students like me to get frightened and to regret coming to such institutions. But in Nalanda, we got exposed to such academic language which helped to survive the rigours of academic life during my post-graduation. Nalanda gave me and to a lot of students wings to fly in the sky with some confidence. Not only in studies, Nalanda has brought so much changes in my personality that I can see, feel and be amazed. Every posts, events and activities of Nalanda still inspires me. I have friends from Nalanda who are abroad for their higher studies, some are already working in good organisations and growing professionally. All this makes so proud of my Nalanda.
Chetan Kant, MA, Disability Studies and Action, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Class of 2020
I belong to the village Panigaon in Kalahandi district of Odisha. My family is very poor. Both my parents passed away when I was young. Since then, being the eldest I had to work in fields to support my siblings. My education suffered a lot as I had no financial support. Some friends from Odisha were studying in Nalanda Academy and informed me about it. I started following Academy’s activities on social media and got inspired. I decided to take admission as I came to know that the Academy teaches students free of cost and provides scholarships too for the students who cannot afford their stay in Wardha.
It was a turning point of my life. Earlier I was not serious about higher education. I did not know its real value. On the first day in Nalanda, I got much inspired after hearing Anoop Sir’s speech. Before I could not even study for an hour but in Nalanda I had to study for hours together without a break. It was very difficult in the beginning but later it turned into a habit. I got more confident and improved myself in studies. Nalanda is an experience I will never forget. It gave me a lot of pleasure, a beautiful friend circle and a responsible teacher.
Due to Nalanda I am now studying in one of the India’s prominent institutes. I think I am a lucky person. Nalanda has not only helped me in academic life but also supported me financially. I was under much financial debt as my family house was destroyed due to heavy rainfall in Odisha. Anoop sir personally helped me to clear my debt so that I could focus on my studies. I can never forget that.
There are many students from Nalanda now pursuing higher education in top institutes across India and in foreign countries. This is so inspiring. I can easily get any information regarding my studies and on other opportunities from the Nalanda student network. Nalanda is like my parents and a golden opportunity for students like me.
Minal Madavi, MA, Children and Family, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Class of 2020
I am from Nagpur. I come from a single parent family. My father left us long before. My mother has been the only support and inspiration of my life. She did odd works to support my studies. I too started working part time quite early in my life. I did all my education in Marathi medium. After my graduation, I wanted to go for quality higher education. I was very much interested in the Social Work subject and therefore started preparing for TISS, Mumbai for my Post-graduation. I gave its entrance exam twice but could not qualify. At that time one of my cousin brothers informed me about Nalanda Academy and insisted that I meet Anoop Kumar Sir. So I came to Wardha and joined Nalanda in August 2017.
The first thing that struck me in the Academy was the large number of students from different states and regions. It was very surprising. Students from so many different states studying together in a small town of Maharashtra. But I experienced a feeling of belongingness and unity of purpose right from the first moment.
In Nalanda Academy, I learnt the real meaning of education, the importance of higher education and proper use of that education. After training in Nalanda in 2018, I not only cleared TISS National Entrance Test but Post Graduate Diploma-Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Central Universities Common Entrance Tests as well. Nalanda made me efficient in academics.
Personally also, it gives me a feeling of family and belongingness where I can share my problems, my experiences and where I can also get a solution and answer to every question. At present I am living with a small family of Nalanda students in TISS Mumbai and that makes me feel comfortable here, outside of my home town. I know that the helping hand of Nalanda Academy is always there with us and this is what makes Nalanda special. It is not just a coaching class, it is a lot more than that. For me ‘Nalanda is a path of enlightenment’.
Komal Mangar, MA, Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Class of 2019
I am from a very small village Rengatur in Nagpur. I took primary education from a government school in Marathi medium. During my second year of graduation at Nagpur University, I worked as a policy agent in one insurance company. My brother had joined Nalanda Academy then and suggested the same to me. But I refused to leave my job because I was not much interested in higher education. To be very honest I was really scared of mathematics. He kept trying to convince me for almost a year. Finally I relented and quit my job to join Nalanda on 7th August 2016. From this moment my golden days started.
At Nalanda, my experience is unforgettable. From the day one, I started learning many things from the basics like how to read a newspaper and how to write notes. I learned more in that one year at Nalanda than my entire fifteen years of schooling. Now I have enough confidence to speak, make presentations, debate on social, political and other issues. Nalanda gave me that confidence and the spirit. With that, I overcame my anxieties and inferiority complex. It gave a whole new direction to my life.
You won’t find a teacher like Anoop Sir anywhere. He is the best teacher I have seen. On the very first day of my joining Nalanda, Anoop sir was teaching editorials and had provided a copy of editorials to each student to read. He suddenly asked me, “What is there in today’s editorial?” I was completely shocked since I did not have any idea about it. I didn’t even know what an editorial is. Frightened, I said ‘No Sir’. He just said, “Okay. Sit down”. He did not say anything to me. He did not even give me an angry look. That was quite a surprise for me based on my previous student-teacher experiences. I have never seen this before and that’s why I decided from that day on to study hard. Now Nalanda is not just a class but a second home for me!
Roopa Nagenahalli, MA in Education, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, Class of 2020
I am from Nagenahalli village, Ballari district of Karnataka. We are three sisters and two brothers. My mother was a devadasi. Being a single mother, it was difficult for her to take care of all of us. So I had to drop-out from the school to work along with my mother as an agricultural labourer and later in the Ballari iron-ore mines. Sometimes we also worked as house-maids. One of the families we were working with once suggested my mother to enrol me through distance mode of learning. So I got enrolled and studied till my graduation through this mode. I never could attend the regular classes, as I always had to work. After graduation, I started looking for opportunities for higher studies to be able to do proper studies.
In early 2017 I got to know about Anoop sir and Nalanda through my friend Rimi. She suggested me to visit Wardha and join. When I joined Nalanda in July 2017, I didn’t know how to write even a single paragraph in English. My whole education was in Kannada medium. Being a school drop-out, I got the first real chance to do proper study at Nalanda.
Two most important things that I learnt in Nalanda are punctuality and consistency in studies. I followed the time table which was scheduled by sir. This helped me a lot to understand how to study smartly. Daily editorials, newspaper readings, regular discussions with classmates on current issues and guest lecturers from experts led me to gain some understanding about the society. It boosted by self-confidence tremendously. Nalanda helped me to explore my strengths and weaknesses. I made good friends at Nalanda who like me come from similar underprivileged backgrounds. I love Nalanda. It is like a family to me now.
Raviraj Gajbhiye, MS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada, Class of 2020
I hail from a small village Ghogli in Nagpur, Maharashtra. During my engineering at Nagpur, I was introduced to Anoop Sir by a friend. On meeting him, I discussed about my career plans. I was very confused on what path to choose after my graduation. Everyone told me to prepare for government jobs, but Sir gave me completely new direction. He introduced me to a very wide scope of higher education. He advised me to go for Post-graduation from some reputed institution abroad before thinking about job. Even the thought of studying in a foreign country had never crossed my head before. But talking to Anoop sir gave me a new sense of purpose and I immediately became a part of Nalanda.
Nalanda helped me academically to envision the right career path. It encouraged me to work hard and excel. I became goal oriented and more determined towards life. But most importantly Anoop sir’s fellowship helped me to develop a sense of love for our community and commitment to serve it in every way possible.
Nalanda has helped me to become a confident person. All the key skills of perseverance and determination that I acquired being in Nalanda are still helping me in my studies and to thrive in the foreign lands.
Nalanda is the only place I derive my inspiration, motivation, confidence from. I am who I am today just because I was fortunate to be associated with Anoop Sir and Nalanda Academy. Nalanda was never just a learning center, it was a place that developed me more as a social being than mere student.
Karuna Patel, LLM, Central University of Punjab, Class of 2020
I hail from Pulgaon which is a Taluka in Wardha District of Maharashtra. I did my B.A. LL.B from Yashwant Law College, Wardha. While pursuing my law degree I got to know about Nalanda Academy through a friend. I visited the place along with few of my friends. I met Anoop Sir. He suggested me not to immediately join but first attend few classes to observe and then take decision. He never taught law students earlier and wanted me to be sure about the usefulness of the classes. Just after attending one class of Anoop sir, I decided to join.
During the time I spent in Nalanda I learnt lots of thing which I never ever experienced before. I met many students who were from different states, speaking different mother tongues. I was amazed how such students travelled from so far to come to a small town in Maharashtra to study. After spending some time in the Academy, I understood the reason.
Students who stayed in Nalanda for some period had amazing experiences. Most of us developed our dedication, for the first time in our lives, towards higher education in Nalanda Academy. Nalanda not only helped me in my academic life but also in my personal life. I was very low and disturbed due to my family conditions and other personal issues. Due to which I could not focus on my studies. But the environment here was so conducive. It was very easy to reach out to Anoop sir and Minakshi tai. Both helped me a lot to come out my personal and family problems. It is because of Nalanda only that I could even think of studying for my LLM in Central University of Punjab. Today I can face any problem in my life and I am confident that I can definitely achieve success. Nalanda is even helping me today through its nation-wide alumni network. Nalanda is like a family for me; a family that believes in equality and equal access to education for all. I feel very fortunate to be part of Nalanda family.
Reshma Ansari, MA, Women’s Studies, Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, Class of 2018
I finished my Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 2018 and currently I am preparing for Civil Services. I come from a small town in Nagpur called Kuhi. I come from a single parent family. Since my childhood, I worked along with my mother in the agricultural field and also as domestic help. After completing my 12th from my home town, I came to Nagpur for my graduation. I was always very determined towards acquiring education despite all hardships so I chose to do B.Sc. and started preparing for competitive exams. During my graduation only I got a job as Branch Post Master. I worked there for three years till I finish my B.Sc.
I became familiar with Nalanda Academy through some common friends during my graduation. After completion of my second year of B.Sc., I met Anoop sir to discuss how to prepare for Civil Services exams. He explained me the pattern, syllabus but also advised me to first go for a PG degree from some reputed university to get exposure and to improve my understanding of Indian society, economy and culture. All this would help me in my preparation for civil services. After talking to Anoop sir, I immediately became part of Nalanda.
I was very shy person and lacked confidence but that one discussion with sir helped me to gain some confidence. When I joined Nalanda, I tried to interact with all the students. For the first time in my life, I felt that there are students like me with similar kind of experiences.
To be honest, I was never interested in academics before coming to Nalanda. Higher education was a completely new domain in my life. I actually cannot express in words on how Nalanda has my life. It gave me strength. It gave me positivity wherever I went. Nalanda is the ocean of inspiration for me. Even if I am not there physically, I get continuous feeling of support and encouragement.