How India responded to help 19-year-old Kashmiri boy’s dream to become first IITian from valley


On Saturday, an incredibly moving story of a poverty stricken Kashmiri boy, unable to pay the fees even after after having cracked the JEE or joint entrance examination, touched many hearts.

NDTV reported the story of 19-year-old Shakeel Ahmad Dar, who had made his mother and a village proud.

He is the first boy from Shagund village who will go on to become an engineer.

But his achievements aside, the boy from Jammu and Kashmir was not able to get admission in prestigious institutions due to his inability to afford fees.

He said, “I was eligible for IIT Advance but I had to opt out because I had no money, Rs. 10, 000 for exam fee.”

Even more gut-wrenching revelation was that despite having qualified for NIT, he didn’t have money to pay the fees to get enrolled in the premier institution.

“Sir, the fees is Rs. 1.25 Lakh annually and I cant afford that. You can see our background. How can we afford Rs. 6 Lakh for four years,” he told the channel.

We too were contacted by many people for Shakeel’s contact number and one good Samaritan from Delhi volunteered to take care of his fees for the NIT.

Speaking from Srinagar, Shakeel said, “yes, one pilot uncle from Delhi called me to say he will pay my fees as soon as the bank opens on Monday. I’ve received at least 15 calls of support from different parts in India. Hopefully, my dream to study in NIT will come true now.”

The generous soul, a commercial pilot from Delhi NCR, told requesting anonymity, “This is the least I can do to help a talent from the community. Please let people know from your platform that it would be my pleasure to provide support to similar talents even in future, regardless of which part of the country they live in.”

With some help from the army and the Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership or CSRL, Shakeel had qualified for the IIT Advance exam after he was selected for the Kashmir Super 30 student programme which offers intensive academic training free-of-cost to poor but meritorious students

Nine years ago, his father’s death forced young Shakeel and and his brothers into work. But, his mother Fareeda pushed him to continue studying.

She once sold her traditional cloak or Pheran to pay the son’s fees.

“What can we do now. If you please help .. If some one helps us. We can’t afford his fee. I was telling my son that I will go and meet Shah Faisal  (Kashmir’s youth icon and IAS 2010 batch topper) and request him for help” she said.