It was in November 2014 when Ramjal Meena was appointed as a security guard in Delhi’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University. He had then probably never realised that the appointment would be a stepping stone to a brighter future. Almost five years later, this 33-year-old from Rajasthan is set to enroll in the same university as a student.
Last week, Meena cracked the JNU entrance exam for admission into BA Russian (honours) after which his phone hasn’t stopped ringing. From answering congratulatory messages of friends and relatives to interview requests from media persons, he hasn’t been able to stay away from his phone. “The last few days have been quite tough. I have been giving interviews non-stop,” he says.
Son of daily wage labourer, Meena hails from a remote village in Rajasthan’s Karauli district. Due to financial constraints, he had to quit his studies after the first year of graduation and join his father’s work. That was the same year when he got married. But he made it a point to never stay away from studies. He carried a book with himself wherever he went.
Meena did several odd jobs before landing at Jawaharlal Nehru University. It was like a mini paradise. I realised that the environment here is very conducive for studies. Students here study till late night. Besides, we have a 24*7 library,” he adds.
He was so mesmerised by the university that he decided to enroll as a student. It was difficult to take out time for studies in his 8-9 hour daily shift. “Whenever I used to get 15-20 mins time in my shift, I sat down to study. Besides, I have also downloaded PDFs
on Current Affairs which I read from my phone,” he says. At home, he made it a point to study daily for 6 hours.
Meena lives with his wife and three children in a one-room rented accommodation in Munirka locality, hardly a kilometre away from the university campus. His two daughters are in class 9 and class 7 respectively while the youngest child is a class 4 boy. Currently, Meena is pursuing MA in Political Science (distance) from Rajasthan University. He aspires to appear for UPSC exams one day. “Every year, 10 to 20 students crack the UPSC exam to become IAS and IPS. I want to do the same and work towards the betterment of my country,” he says.