KOTTAYAM: A V Aneesh, 30, a tribal resident from Erumeli’s Thumarampara, feels lucky. He is one of the 400 tribal community members chosen to meet President Droupadi Murmu when she arrives in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
Aneesh, who is pursuing PhD from Mahatma Gandhi University, is getting the honour to meet India’s first president hailing from a tribal community for his determination to pursue education against all odds.
“I am happy to reach the PhD level. However, meeting the President is even more joyous for an ordinary person like me,” said Aneesh, who belongs to the Ulladar community.
For the tribal resident, the journey until PhD was rife with challenges, failures and doubts. “I have faced hardships throughout my academic career,” said Aneesh, adding that he realised the value of education when he had to discontinue studies owing to problems that never seemed to end.
Forced to discontinue studies after he failed in Plus Two, Aneesh took up rubber tapping in a plantation near Thumarampara, bordering the Sabarimala forest. “I realised the value of education while working in the plantation. So, I would complete my work by 11am and use the rest of the day to study for Plus Two exams,” Aneesh said. It took him a few attempts, but Aneesh passed out of Class 12 after three years. He then joined BSc Physics in SD College, Kanjirappally.
“I had none to guide me in my childhood. As a child, I wanted to be an autorickshaw driver. Now, I dream of becoming a college professor. Education is the reason for this change of mind,” he said. While studying, he took up part time jobs to support his family. After graduation, he joined MG University to pursue MSc Physics. However, he had to discontinue studies again due to unforeseen circumstances. He later got the chance to join MA Malayalam in the varsity’s School of Letters. After that he joined MPhil course and is now gunning for a PhD.
Through his doctorate, Aneesh aims to discover and study life and culture of his own community, the Ulladar. Professor P S Radhakrishnan from the School of Letters is his guide. Aneesh has also performed in the university’s arts programmes and acted in 10 plays. During his interaction with President Murmu, Aneesh wants to bring to her attention the backwardness of his community.
“I faced a lot of issues right from my childhood as a tribal resident. There has hardly been an increase in the number of people getting education in Ulladar community, which has total population of just 50,000 in Kerala. We need special projects to change this,” he said.