Student by day, security guard at night: The heart touching tale of an IIM professor
For Ranjith P Panathur, April 5, 2021 was the day his dream came true and all his hard work paid off. He was appointed as the Assistant Professor at IIM Ranchi, one of the prestigious institution in the country. He has been asked to join within 90 days. His journey, from a hut in Panathur, a rural village in Kasaragod to the IIM campus in Ranchi of Jharkhand was not a cakewalk.
He shared his story on Facebook recently which soon went viral. He posted a picture of his hut and said, "This is the house I was born and where I am still staying. And now, and IIM assistant professor has been born here."
Many lauded his achievement and determination.
Ranjith is the eldest among the three siblings. His father Ramachandran is a tailor and mother MGNREGS labour. Despite the adverse financial situation at home, Ranjith’s parents never compromised on their children’s education. As a result he could complete his studies up to Plus Two with good marks.
Speaking to english.mathrubhumi.com, Ranjith said he was unsure of the future and even thought of quitting studies. However, he got a job as security guard at the Panathur Telephone Exchange at night. This helped him immensely. He could earn at night and study during the day. He got admission at the St Pius X College in Rajapuram for BA Economics and later completed MA Economics from Central University of Kerala.
“I had always wanted to do PhD and so applied to IIT Madras with not much hope. The main attraction of the institute was the scholarship fund so that I could help at home. To my surprise, I got admission at IIT-M and that was a welcome start.”
But his troubles didn’t end there. IIT-M was a big institute, an ambulation of many languages and cultures. Ranjith felt like he wouldn’t fit in. He even wanted to drop the PhD and run back home to his comfort zone. It was his guide Dr Subash and his wife Dr Vaidehi, who helped him stick around and slowly merge with the atmosphere at the institute.
“There was language barrier. I only knew Malayalam. The students at IIT Madras came from all parts of the world. First it was difficult. But with the help of many, I was able to blend and complete my PhD. I even presented papers at international confereces in Japan and Germany,” Ranjith said.
And in August 2020 Ranjith became Dr Ranjith.
The 28-year-old was working as assistant professor at Christ University in Bangalore when he got the appointment letter from IIM Ranchi.
Ranjith’s family still lives in the hut and a new house is under construction nearby.
His younger siblings, Rejitha, a B.Ed student and Rahul, who works at a hotel in Thrissur after completing hotel management, are proud of their brother’s achievement.
“I shared my story on Facebook, just to let others, like me who came from humble surroundings, know that nothing is impossible. All I want to say to others is that dream big and never cease to dream. One day, all your dreams will come true,” said Ranjith.