From having to live in a house with no electricity to working in stone quarries and pineapple farms as a child, Ajith walked through thorn paved ways to reach where he is today.

From selling fish to driving an auto One Kerala mans arduous journey to a PhD
news Human Interest Sunday, July 21, 2019 - 12:15

He stopped his education after school to sell fish in order to support his family. But today, Ajith KP is a proud PhD holder from the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University in Kerala. The 30-year-old resident of Anchelpetty at Muvattupuzha taluk in Ernakulam district, on July 9 had his open defence after submitting his research thesis, making him the first student of the university to make an open defence and consecutively, the first PhD holder of the university.

Ajith’s journey in a large part is about hard work, reported Manorama. From having to live in a house with no electricity to working in stone quarries and pineapple farms as a child, Ajith walked through thorn paved ways to reach where he is today.

Speaking to TNM, Ajith says that this success is not his, but his mother’s, who raised him single handedly. “My father divorced my mother when I was just three months old. We were living in Panyangara near Muvattupuzha back then but moved to Anchelpetty after the divorce. There, living in a small house in an arid land with no electricity or water connection, my mother raised me by working in pineapple fields. Though her relatives insisted on remarriage, she refused in order to raise me,” he says.

A saga of odd jobs for a living

Ajith started to do menial jobs when he was in Class 8. “Since childhood, I’ve known that I should raise money in order to survive. That is how I started to work and it started with climbing trees for a living. I was a very good climber and I started to climb trees for neighbours to cut the overgrown branches. They used to give some money for that,” he says. Ajith also started going with his mother to pineapple fields.

“After Class 10, I started to work in a stone quarry nearby. But during monsoon, there was work only till afternoon in the quarry. So in the evenings, I started to assist a fishermen near my home to sell fish. I used to get about Rs 100 each day – Rs 150 when the sale was good,” Ajith recalls.

It was as he started selling fish, standing beside a school, that Ajith again felt the urge to restart his studies. “I started to feel bad as I saw students my age going to school while I was standing there in front of them selling fish. So I decided to take a year’s break and join for Plus Two,” he says.

Teachers, friends and inspiration to study further

After working in the stone quarry for about a year after school, Ajith joined BA Malayalam at St Peter’s college in Kolenchery. “Listening about college life from my Plus Two teacher was the main reason I decided to try out for degree and that is how I joined BA Malayalam. I just wanted to complete the course and find a job but then a friend of mine insisted that I do B Ed,” says Ajith.

It was there that Ajith came to know about research and doctoral studies. “It was my teacher named Joby who inspired me that I should continue my studies. He insisted me that I should study post graduation in a university college and then further do research there. He only told me about Malayalam University and asked me to apply for it,” he says.

“The two people I am greatly indebted to during my life in the Malayalam University is my guide Dr T Anithakumari and my co-research scholar Archana Mohan,” he says.

While studying in college, Ajith started driving an auto rickshaw for a living, and this he continues to this day.

Recently Ajith also cleared UGC’s National Eligibility Test and this has made him and family happier.

 

 

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