Ramjal Meena was forced to discontinue his studies in 2004 since he had to sustain his family, who were in a dire financial position.
Ten years later, when Meena first stepped into Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as a security guard, he never thought that he would get an opportunity to be part of JNU as a student. Last week, the unbelievable happened, as the 34-year-old from Rajasthan cracked the JNU entrance exams and got himself admitted into the BA Russian (Hons).
Meena said that what makes JNU different is that people here do not believe in the social hierarchy. Everyone, whether teachers or students, encouraged him to study and now that he has passed the entrance they are constantly congratulating him.
"I feel like I have become famous overnight,"Meena said.
Meena lives with his wife and 3 children in Munirka a village, New Delhi. This journey wasn't easy for him since he had to give time to family, job and his studies.
“I follow newspapers through apps on my phone. Besides, students also helped me get PDF notes," the dedicated learner said.
When asked why he chose to study a foreign language, he said it was so that he could see new places as he had heard that those who study foreign languages get to visit foreign countries.
"I want to try my luck in civil services," he added, clearly not intent on stopping now.
However there are problems, said Meena. “Since I am the sole earner, my wife is concerned about money. There is a rule that one cannot pursue regular education with work at JNU. I will request for night shifts."
Naveen Yadav, the head of security at JNU, said, “We are proud of him. But working night shifts with regular college is not possible. We will, however, extend all help possible to him.”