Arya Rajagopal: Meet the petrol bunk attendant's daughter now pursuing final year MTech at IIT

Arya Rajagopal is already more than a year into her two-year MTech course. The reason why her story has captured such attention is because she is the daughter of a petrol bunk attendant.

Published: 09th October 2021 04:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2021 04:17 PM   |  A+A-

Arya Rajagopal and family. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

Online Desk

Arya Rajagopal's focus is clear. It has always been studies first for this bright and determined student, who wishes to keep away from the excitement generated by recent reports about her having secured entry into IIT Kanpur for MTech.

The fact is she is already more than a year into her two-year MTech course. The reason why her story has captured such attention is because she is the daughter of a petrol bunk (Indian Oil Corporation) attendant.

Her father Rajagopalan is understandably proud of his only child. 

Rajagopalan and his wife Shobhana Rajagopalan hail from Annur near Payyanur in the northern Kerala district of Kannur.

Going by what her father says, Arya apparently means business.

Before she secured a seat in IIT Kanpur, she had done her B.Tech course at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Calicut. The fact that she studied in Malayalam medium didn't stop her from securing a seat in NIT. She had attended private coaching to equip herself for entrance tests while she was doing her plus-two course. Being their only child, her parents ensured that she got to fulfill her dreams whatever be the cost.

"Right from a very young age, Arya has been focused on her studies. All we had to do was to guide her," Rajagopalan pointed out.

She studied up to class X at St Mary's Girls High School in Payyanur. She went on to do her plus-two course at Shenoy Memorial Government Higher Secondary School.

Raju CV, Arya's Chemistry teacher at Shenoy Memorial School, said he spoke to her on Friday night and she sounded disturbed by false information about her pursuing a petrochemical or petroleum technology course when actually she was studying chemical engineering. She is into the second year of the course but most reports make it appear as if she had joined only recently.

Her father remembers Arya as a bright student all along. He recalls that she got A+ in all the subjects in Class X and XII. Later, she went on to do BTech at NIT, Calicut. She got admission for MTech in Guwahati and Kharagpur IITs also. However, she chose Kanpur, he said.

Rajagopalan said as a petrol bunk attendant he earns a monthly salary of Rs 16,000 presently. "You can well imagine how life would have been back then (when Arya was young)," he reminds.

Rajagopalan said his wife working in a private firm as a front office staff during the past few years helped supplement his income. "We live in our own house. But it's currently under 'maintenance'," he said.

After completing her education, Arya has no plans to go abroad. She is keen to work in India itself. She is confident of landing a good job and is looking forward to campus placements, Rajagoplan underlined.

Shobhana said after Arya completed her class X course, she opted for the Science group. 

"Her concentration is on studies although she watches television and reads. She is an understanding daughter and doesn't spend too much money unnecessarily," Shobhana said about her daughter.

"So far she hasn't had to help me in household chores because all that is taken care of by my mother," she added.

Arya's story came to light after the chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Ltd., Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, tweeted the photograph of the father and daughter, taken at his fuel station, on the night of October 6, with a caption saying, "Let me share an inspiring story of Arya, daughter of #IndianOil's customer attendant Mr Rajagopalan. Arya has made us proud by securing entry into IIT Kanpur.  All the best and way to go Arya!"

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri in another tweet termed the achievement 'heartwarming' and subsequently, social media has been overflowing with praise for Arya and her parents.


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