Train hawker overcomes odds to study medicine

Biswas, 26, could not pursue his dream of becoming a doctor despite clearing the medical joint-entrance exams twice earlier due to paucity of funds.

"I did not even have the money to go for counselling after clearing the joint-entrance examinations earlier, let alone pay for my education," Biswas, an orphan, said here.

The youth, whose father died when he was very young, had to struggle to make ends meet while pursuing his studies. Fellow students used to lend him books and teachers helped him in his studies at Habra in North 24 Parganas district.

He cleared the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (WBJEE) in 2006 and 2007, ranking 288 and 377 respectively -- a no mean feat considering he used to sell pens in local trains to earn his living.

"Though I could not study medical studies due to lack of funds, I did not give up my dream. I worked for a while in Delhi at construction sites, but came back," he said.

The youth again sat for this year's WBJEE, despite knowing that he did not have funds to pursue his goal. But fortune favoured him this time.

Biswas ranked 189th this year. A scholarship initiated by Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) in association with Rotary Club of Calcutta has helped him to realise his dream.

"This endowment scholarship programme for brilliant students from the rural areas of West Bengal is to help financially backward children," Dr Kunal Sarkar, Vice- President, RTIICS, said.

The youth is now eagerly looking forward to begin his studies in a government medical college.

Apart from him, five other medical students from financially backward background are being sponsored along with six others for plus-two education this year.

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