This news will bring a big smile on every Indian’s face! A coolie cleared the prestigious civil services exam making use of the free WiFi service at railway station! Preparing for this tough exam is in itself an arduous job. While other privileged students bury themselves amidst the pile of books in the comfort of their houses, this young man balanced the heavy syllabus along with the heavy loads of luggage on his body! The success rate in passing the civil services exam is extremely low ranging from 5% to 20% in various categories. If this coolie could make it against all odds to be among them, it is really commendable!
Sreenath is the name of our hero, a young man from Munnar, Kerala. Five years back, he shifted to Ernakulum, the commercial capital of Kerala, which is around 130 km from his native place. He has been earning his livelihood by working as a coolie at the Ernakulum junction Railway station from last 5 years. He has a pressure to support his family financially. He doesn’t have the luxury of being a full-time student, though deserving! Life is not always fair.
In spite of these adversities, our Sreenath dreamt to uplift himself from poverty and earn a respectable status. He has been balancing between his coolie job and his studies all these years. He is just a high school pass out. He appeared in civil services twice but without results. Full day of the extremely strenuous coolie job and studying by night with the exhausted body was very tough for Sreenath to make it. But the third time, luck was on his side!
Ernakulum Railway Station got free WiFi! Free WiFi service was launched in 2016 as a part of PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative, providing free internet facility to railway passengers under Railwire, the retail broadband distribution model of Railtel Corporation of India Limited. As of now, 685 railway stations have the free WiFi facility. By March 2019, free WiFi service will be provided at all the 8500 railway stations across India. The PM Modi government has allocated Rs700 Cr for the project. Well, coming back to our story, with free WiFi facility at Ernakulum, Sreenath’s life totally changed.
Free WiFi opened for him the doors of opportunities that were closed on him earlier. He no longer had to spend on the books he couldn’t afford. He could download reams of practice question papers at a speed of 20-40 mbps. He could get easy access to online examination forms. While carrying heavy loads of luggage on his head and shoulders, Sreenath could listen to his digital course work side by side. While giving an attentive ear to his teachers speaking to him through the earphones, Sreenath was earning his livelihood by coolie work.
In his own words, “I have appeared thrice for the exam and this is the first time I used the WiFi at the station. What I do is put on my earphones and listen to the study material as I carry the luggage or solve questionnaires in my mind. This way I can study while I work. I revise all my work at night when I get free time,”
He tells further, “I have appeared thrice for the exam and this is the first time I used the WiFi at the station. What I do is put on my earphones and listen to the study material as I carry the luggage or solve questionnaires in my mind. This way I can study while I work. I revise all my work at night when I get free time.”
Sreenath’s passion for working hard for a better future is astounding. He says, “I will keep studying. While I work as a coolie because I have the pressure of running my house, I will keep studying and appearing for exams. If I appear for enough exams, I am bound to get a good job.” He has applied for other exams advertised recently by the railways for 62,000 Group D posts of trackman, cabinman, leverman, pointsman, gangman and others.
PM Modi might be very visionary Prime Minister, but he would have never imagined such an inspiring success story by his Digital India mission. Sreenath and the hardworking youth like him make us really proud. If he qualifies for KPSC after interview, he is likely to be a village field assistant under the land revenue department. When asked about his idea of an ideal job, he says, “What is my ideal job? A person of some authority to change things in my village.”
Jyothi Suparna Chincholi