Kota: Krishan Kumar’s tireless pursuit of excellence is an inspiration to students in his village and his success in cracking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) a source of pride to his parents, who work as MGNREGA labourers. Kumar is the only person in Sakhwara panchayat in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district to clear the NEET 2018. His parents said they wanted him to unshackle himself out of the misery they had faced in life.

“My long-awaited dream has come true... I am proud my son would be the first doctor in my panchayat," said Munna Lal, who has studied till Class 5. Kumar’s mother is illiterate. The 19-year-old spent several nights studying under kerosene lamps in his village before moving to Kota, a city more than 300 km away from his home which has a number of coaching institutes, in 2015 to prepare for the entrance test.

Kumar found success on his third attempt, securing an All India rank of 3,099 in the recently-held NEET. He is on his way to become the first MBBS doctor from his panchayat. His journey until now has been difficult. Kumar remained largely surrounded by books in his tedious hostel room in Kota city, away from the comforting surroundings of his home. But it was the conviction of his parents, that kept him going. They kept the 19-year-old motivated and consistently encouraged him after he failed in his first two attempts.

Kumar completed his higher secondary education from a Hindi medium government school, about 20 km away from his village. He said he wants to contribute to develop health facilities in rural India, possibly because he does not want other students to struggle with limited resources as he had in his preparation.

“I want to be a cardiac surgeon after completing MBBS. I have heard a lot about shortage of cardiologists in the country," Kumar said.

Naveen Maheshwari, director of Allen Career Institute in Kota where Kumar studied, said the young boy’s success in cracking the NEET was a result of his unyielding determination and hard work. “That is why despite having failed in his first two attempts he never gave up and eventually succeeded." Maheshwari said Kota institutes have paved the way to medical and engineering colleges for thousands of students from rural areas.

A total of 13.36 lakh candidates had registered for this year’s NEET. However, 12.69 lakh candidates appeared for the test, of whom 7.14 lakh cleared the test.

NEET is conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses in colleges run with the approval of the Medical Council of India and the Dental Council of India. The test is not for admission to institutions established through an Act of Parliament such as AIIMS and JIPMER in Puducherry.