It is a dream of many people, to occupy the hot seat of the most popular TV show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”.Majority of people do not have confidence in themselves, so they don’t even try to enroll as a contestant for KBC. It was on 26 Oct 2013 that I saw Mr. Surendra Kumar Sharma on the hot seat in front of the legendary Amitabh Bacchan who happens to be his role model.
His simplicity, self confidence and enthusiasm impressed me. I could see that Surendra Kumar was a self made man. He is occupying the coveted post of the Principal of an English medium School “Universal Academy” in Kashipur Uttarakhand. It happens to be one among the chain of schools managed by a Delhi based organization.
It took me some time to get the contact details of Surendra Kumar Sharma. After talking to him I found that his success story could inspire many others. He was born in 1971 in a small farmer’s family at Sadanpur village, Noorpur district Bijnor (U.P). The village was so backward, that there was no school. Surendra started his schooling in a “madarsa” (A school run by the muslim community) where he learnt the Hindi alphabets. Thereafter he studied in a Government school in Noorpur up to class X, and passed class XII from Feena village nearby Chandpur district Bijnor. Surendra aspired to be an engineer, but his father clearly said that he will not be able to afford his education any more. Some people ridiculed him and made fun of his ambitions. This could not dampen his spirits from soaring high, so he decided to earn money and continue his studies.
Being good in studies he started giving tuitions. He also started a small tea stall, but having no experience; he incurred loss and closed it down. His urge to do something was so strong, that he did marketing and shop to shop selling of biscuits and snacks. He even tried his luck in the insurance sector, without losing hope. Having completed B.A. as a private student, he did MA (Economics) and subsequently passed the B.Ed examination. His interest in poetry and “shayari” made him popular among his friends.
Surendra took up the job of a teacher in Kashipur. Reading books of Swami Vivekanand, he applied his philosophy in his life. Hard work and sincerity, coupled with a desire to learn something new, soon brought its rewards. Surendra became the Principal of an English Medium School. Exuding self confidence he said “I didn’t allow my Hindi medium background to become my weakness” He likes to compose poems in English, and does not hesitate to ask his English teacher in school to correct it. Being a devotee of Lord Balaji, Surendra Kumar does not believe in instilling fear among the students or teachers. When asked how he maintains discipline he said “I don’t criticize the teachers, or point out their short comings. Rather, I inspire them by setting a good example”
Surendra had been trying to participate in the popular TV show KBC from the last five years, but could reach only up to the second level. In 2013 he got a call from the Mumbai office and was called to Chandigarh. Here the contestants were asked to answer a questionnaire, to check their general awareness. Having cleared that, he was called to Mumbai. “Although arrangements for stay were made in a nice hotel, but I could not sleep the whole night, because of the excitement of meeting Amitabh ji the next day” recalls Surendra.The shooting of KBC took place in Yashraj Studio. “After clearing fastest finger first, when I was invited to the hot seat, I touched the feet of Amitabh Bacchan, and he hugged me affectionately. I answered seven questions correctly, and won the prize money of Rs 3, 20,000.I didn’t know the answer to the eighth question which was worth Rs 6,40,000.Having three lifelines alive, I went for audience poll. To my bad luck the answer given by the audience turned out to be wrong. I didn’t give a second thought, and ‘locked it’ .In this way I had to quit the game with the basic sum of Rs 40,000 only “said Surendra in a nostalgic mood. He cautions future aspirants of KBC to prepare thoroughly, listen to the questions carefully, and don’t take decisions in a hurry. When asked about his future plans, Surendra said “I want to see this Universal Academy School on the top in this locality and then to become the Principal of some reputed CBSE school in a big city” Talking about his happiest moment in life, he said” reaching the hot seat and sitting face to face with Big B.” In his message to upcoming teachers he said “self confidence, sincerity and dedication are the ingredients of success.”
(The above success story is based on the interview of Shri. Surendra Kumar by Maj Pradeep Khare)