Hyderabad: Life has been a roller-coaster ride for 25-year-old tribal student Mahesh Kurakula who has made his village proud by becoming the first man to secure admission in the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ranchi.

Hailing from Rachur village under Yeldanda Mandal in Nagarkurnool, Mahesh’s parents are daily wage laborers who have toiled hard but did not compromise on his education.

If Mahesh’s parents sacrificed everything for their son, it was chief minister KCR’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha who helped Mahesh to live his dreams.

“I belong to a tribal community. My parents are daily-wage laborers. It is because of the government school and college that I reached to this stage. I stayed in social welfare hostels,” said Mahesh.

A final semester student of Mass Communication department at Osmania University, he has got offers from not just one or two but six IIMs across the country.

Meeting P. Venkateshwar, his history lecturer at Vivekananda Government Degree College was one of the turning points in Mahesh’s life.

“I am not exaggerating when I say that Venkateshwar sir never left me alone. He would constantly guide me about premier institutes and motivated me to crack entrance tests. It was through him that I first heard about IIMs. I’m glad to say that his efforts have yielded fruit,” he said.

However, after he got the admission offer from IIM Ranchi, there came another challenge. The institution asked Mahesh to pay Rs 1 lakh by June 5, which he couldn’t afford.

Not knowing what to do, Mahesh approached his teacher for guidance. “It was Venkateshwar sir who gave me the idea of putting out a tweet. I tagged Kalvakuntla Kavitha madam and KTR in my tweets and informed them about the issue. In two days, Kavitha madam not only responded but offered to pay the whole amount. She also assured me that she can take care of my future studies. I am grateful,” said Mahesh.

Once he finalizes his admission, Mahesh would become the first student from his village to get into an IIM. “I am a first-generation learner, while my parents are illiterates. If you have the will-power and adequate motivation, you can overcome any challenge,” he said.

Mahesh, however, has no hesitation in saying that a lot of people from marginalized backgrounds face discrimination in higher educational institutions. “But I think I’ve been lucky so far. I have had amazing teachers who keep motivating me about premier programs and institutes. Most of the time, it is the lack of access to information that many people are not coming forward,” he said.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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