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Friday, July 8, 2011

INSPIRING ACHIEVERS: Engineering topper fights all odds to realise his dream!

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B. ARAVIND KUMAR / The Hindu / CHENNAI, July 8, 2011.

Ashok Kumar, the engineering topper at the TNBE admission with his brother Sathish Kumar at Anna University on Friday. Photo: R. Ragu
Ashok Kumar, the engineering topper at the TNBE admission with his brother Sathish Kumar at Anna University on Friday. Photo: R. Ragu - The Hindu.

The story of this year’s topper in engineering admissions is one of tears, struggles, dreams and a surprise.
Ranked 37 in the academic stream of engineering admissions, M. Ashok Kumar was waiting for his turn at the counselling centre at Anna University on Friday when he was told by officials that he was the topper. He could not believe it. “I felt extremely happy,” says the boy, who was born on July 4, 1993.
That date of birth, before the use of a random number used during admission, made him the oldest among 17 students who had scored 200 out of 200 in four subjects, and therefore, the topper in engineering. After scoring 198 in computer science, he applied for re-totalling. Another 200 in this subject put him at the top of the list of toppers.
Eighteen years ago, soon after his birth, Ashok lost his father Manivasgam, who was running a textile shop in Boothipuram, a hamlet in Dindigul district. His mother Murugeswari started working at a watch showroom to take care of the new born and his two older brothers aged three and six.
“I had to leave school after Plus 2 to work in a medical shop to support the family,” says Satish Kumar, the eldest, who had accompanied Ashok for the counselling. “My mother now works in a courier office. She can’t travel long distance,” he says. The other brother Raj Kumar, dropped out of tenth, and works as a tailor.


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