Meghalaya boy cracks IIT exam despite poverty

Meghalaya boy cracks IIT exam despite poverty

SHILLONG: Mahatma Gandhi once said that a man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes. If success is what one has thought about, then what follows next is understood, but how one goes about achieving success is a whole different story for different individuals. But what’s interesting in this context is the life story of a student whose thoughts gradually developed into an action, the same of which defined him as a role model for many. When the urge to achieve a set goal is stronger and more visible, then there could be no force which can stop a person from achieving his/her goals. A person’s firm stance is in itself a force to be reckoned with and there is nothing, not even poverty which could act as a deterrent.

The will to succeed and the determination to achieve the set goals has always been a quality of Marshall Kharumnuid, a yound student who despite all the challenges, managed to overcome all the physical and mental hardship only to emerge as a source of inspiration for many youth. Marshall, son of Tharina Kharumnuid and Bakstar Warkhyllew, a resident of Mawtieng, Sohryngkham belongs to a poor family. The family depend entirely on agriculture economically. Despite poverty, Marshall managed to bring laurels not only to his family and his college (St Edmund’s College) but to the state as a whole following his success in clearing the JAM (Joint Admission Test) 2016 and securing the 2363rd rank in the entire country. His success landed him a seat in the prestigious institution– IIT-Madras.

“I’m still in a daze and I still can’t believe it,” Marshall said adding that he did not expect to crack the examination in his appearance as he did not get much time to prepare for the test because his final year BSC examination was just two days away. Marshall is the sixth son of  ten children and since his childhood, he showed great interest in his studies and his hopes and dreams were clear enough for the parents to understand. Despite belonging to a poor family, Marshall’s hopes did not fade away and this can be attributed to the encouragement and the broad minded nature of his parents. “I am really grateful to God for giving me the strength to move ahead despite all the hurdles and to my parents for supporting me and for believing in my abilities,” Marshall said adding that in his journey, the biggest hurdle that he had to faced was poverty.


“When financial problems hit the family, I couldn’t concentrate in my studies and most of the time is spent in the fields helping my parents with the agricultural activities,” he said. In 2011, when he appeared for his SSLC examination from Green Hill Secondary School, Sohryngkham at the age of 15, he missed it by an inch to make it to the top 10 and secured 86.67 percent with letters in all the subjects except English. In 2013, when he appeared for his HSSLC examination from St Edmund’s HS School at the age 17, Marshall stood first with 78 percent. During the recently declared Final year BSC results, Marshall, who appeared for the exams from St Edmund’s College, made his family proud by securing the first position in the BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with 80 percent.

To sustain himself in whichever way possible, Marshall earned his pocket money by taking tuitions for class XI and class XII students. “This way, I didn’t have to ask money from my parents for travelling expenses because the amount I spent everyday on going and coming is over Rs 100,” he said. Marshall cracked the JAM 2016 in March 23. The qualifying percentage for ST was 13.84 per cent and he secured 28 per cent thereby clearing the test from the ST category. Subsequently, Marshall applied for a seat at IIT Madras to pursue his MSc in Mathematics. On June 3, 2016 Marshall received a letter stating that he was selected at IIT-Madras to pursue MSc (4 semesters) in Mathematics. He will be leaving for Chennai on July 18. Marshall is however bogged down by yet another problem, financial constraint is a major hurdle for him. “When I got the news, I was overjoyed but later when I think about the expenses, my hopes seems to be fading away as the admission fees in IIT-Madras amounts to almost 1.5 lakh and my family do not have that much money. But thankfully, the bank was there to help me get an education loan,” he said with a sigh of relief. “The journey was not easy but through sheer hardwork and determination, I can say that it pays off in the end.”


When asked about his future plans, Marshall said that he wishes to pursue his PhD in Mathematics and become a professor. “I like teaching and if I get the opportunity, I would to share my knowledge by teaching,” he said adding that he would be privileged if he can share the knowledge with children with lesser means stating that “I can understand their plight, which is why I believe that I am the man for the job.” His achievements have not gone unseen. He was awarded the certificate of Achievement from the KHADC and St Edmund’s College in 2016 for securing 1st position in the final year BSc (Mathematics) examinations. In his message, Marshall said “Will power is very important, no matter how rich or poor you are or whether you represent a high end institution or below the rate institution, at the end of the day, your willingness to achieve something with all your heart is the baseline.”

Just like former President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said– We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us, similarly, Marshall rose above all the challenges and lived up to what Kalam quoted, “

To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.” “Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success,” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)