Telangana: Tribal teen Korsa Lakshmi's journey to IIT Patna inspires hope

Officers of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency’s project in the Maoist-affected tribal village of Katayagudem along with donors contributed financially to cover her fees.
Korsa Lakshmi
Korsa Lakshmi

KHAMMAM: In the remote, Maoist-affected tribal village of Katayagudem of Dummugudem mandal in Bhadradri Kothagudem district, 17-year-old Korsa Lakshmi has shattered barriers and proven that education is the key to overcoming poverty. She secured the 1,371st rank in the competitive JEE Advanced exams held on June 4, which helped her secure a seat at IIT Patna. 

Lakshmi has become a role model for other girls as she is the only tribal girl in the mandal to ever secure a seat in an IIT. Her journey towards studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) at IIT Patna had humble beginnings. 

Having attended a Telugu medium government school up to the fourth grade in Katayagudem, she joined a gurukulam in Bhadrachalam. 

There she transitioned to studying in English medium. She excelled in her classes and secured the highest marks in both Class 10 and intermediate examinations.

The principal of the gurukulam, Devadas, recognised her potential and supported her. Lakshmi’s family, despite their own financial challenges, stood behind her aspirations. 

Her parents Kannayya and Shantamma own an acre of land in the village, work as labourers and are illiterate. Her brother Jampanna had to discontinue his studies due to financial constraints, yet they never discouraged Lakshmi. 

Lakshmi’s parents initially objected to sending her to Patna after she secured a seat. However, the school’s principal along with Lakshmi’s uncle, Ravi, and aunt, Sumalatha, counselled her parents and convinced them to send her to Patna. 

The village’s Integrated Tribal Development Agency’s (ITDA) project officers — P Gowtham and Prateek Jain — along with some donors came forward and contributed financially to cover her fees and other expenses.Two weeks ago, Lakshmi embarked on her new chapter at IIT Patna. 

Speaking to TNIE over a phone call, she expressed her pride in being a part of an IIT. She credited her success to her parents, uncle, aunt and the mentorship provided by the gurukulam’s principal and teachers. She said that she wants to crack the UPSC exam after completing her undergraduate course at IIT Patna and serve the people of her community and society at large. 

Lakshmi’s father Kannayya, who also works as an ice cream vendor, said, “I never expected my daughter would study in such a prestigious college. I am very proud of her achievements.”

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The New Indian Express