Success is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Two students belonging to the tribal community have proven this as they were finally able to secure MBBS seats this year, at a time when even medical aspirants from major cities across the State are struggling to crack NEET.
L Manikandan from Kalvarayan Hills in Salem and Ramya from Karamadai in Coimbatore, secured the seats. Manikandan shifted to Vellimalai in Kallakurichi to pursue free education offered by the State’s Tribal Department. His father Lakshmanan and mother Paapayee are from the Hindu Malayali tribe known for farming and rearing goats in forest patches.
“I finished my Class 12 boards in 2016 and was unable to crack NEET. I then joined BSc paramedics at a Salem Vinayaga mission specialising in dialysis. But my dream was to become a doctor and didn’t give up preparing for NEET,” Manikandan said. “My father already sold some land for my BSc education and was preparing to sell the remaining portions for my medical seat at a private institution. There is no more need for it,” he added.
Four years of hard work coupled with the 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students have made the dream come true for Manikandan, who is the State tribal topper and has bagged a seat at the prestigious Madras Medical College. “My family’s dream has finally materialized now. I just need to improve my English language skills,” a jubilant Manikandan said.
Ramya belongs to the Irula tribe and her parents who are traditional snake catchers are now into rearing goats. According to officials of the State Tribal Welfare Department that runs the Egalaiva school, Ramya securing a medical seat is nothing short of a miracle as her home does not even have electricity yet. “In this day and age, Ramya studied without electricity until she was shifted to the government school. We are trying to help her financially through the Revenue Department and the only assets of the family are a few goats and utensils,” an official told DT Next.
The Egalaiva schools for tribes and Kallar reclamation (KR) schools for denotified communities periodically overtake the State’s overall pass percentage.