This story comes from Patwa Toli, a village on the outskirts of a town in Bihar named Gaya. In 2017, 15 teenagers belonging to this very village cracked IIT! While it is nearly impossible to get so many students from a single area for many regions across the country, the excellent student quality is really not luck, but discipline. Going by facts, in 2016 there were 11 successful IIT aspirants and in 2015 there were 12 such amazing students. In the last 25 years Patwa Toli has produced more than 300 engineering graduates among which a third of the entire some calls itself IITan.
They say in Patwa Toli that albeit a little dark, any unguided missile to Patwa Toli is bound to hit an engineering graduate’s home!
The village’s name is as unique as its population. The name Patwa Toli comes from the Hindu weavers (known as Patwas) who are assumed to be a massive 90% of the entire populace of the village!
When Bihar fell in love with IAS, Patwa Toli found its comfort in IIT. It all began in 1991 when a weaver’s son made it to the Indian Institute of Technology. His name was Jitendra Kumar. When Jitendra got an admission in IIT, Patwa Toli was suffering majorly due to the power loom units becoming less viable as the power outages and the costs of inputs increased, market started to dwindle, the competition increased and capital was almost took a U–turn to zero.
1500 households of the village decided to prepare their children for the toughest engineering entrance in India as they made getting an admission in IIT their goal and made Jitendra their role model.
Going with logic rather than superstitions, the village of Patwa Toli pooled in resources and designed what is now known as the Nav Skil Prayas – New Effort. Nav Skil Prayas is a unique group study model which helps the village to overcome its weaknesses as it prepares for the IIT entrance exam.
Jitendra became their mentor, spending his vacations in teaching whatever little knowledge he was able to gather on his journey to IIT to the hopeful Patwa Tolis. The IIT factory that Patwa Toli has produced its first successful batch in the year 1998 when 3 boys made it to IIT. The following year, seven students walked inside the gates of IIT. And rest is history!
Today, Jitendra has migrated to the United States and other graduates are working in different cities of India. Everything has its pluses and minuses, while Jitendra loved to give something back to the village; the new IIT graduates are self-obsessed to say the least.
“The earlier IITians concentrated on mentoring their co-villagers. The new boys who have tasted success lack the commitment of their seniors,” says community leader Prem Kumar Patwa. However, according to a psychology professor named Nasimuddin, the study group was a compulsion, not a choice. He said “With prosperity, the compulsion to study in a group has gone down.”
Lalji Prasad, the former municipal councilor wanted to rename AGES Patwa Toli as Abhiyanta Vihar – Engineers’ Garden, but the decrease in interest of the students from the village in discussion to pursue engineering as a career has affected this decision.
Students are opting for other fields such as UPSC’s civil services, CRPF, law and banking jobs. In 2016, Pitambar Kumar cracked the UPSC’s Civil Services exam and joined the Indian Revenue Service.
The year 2015 saw a huge change in the pattern for young girls belonging to the village. For the first time in the history of Patwa Toli, a girl qualified for an engineering institute. Her name was Deepa Kumari. Since then there have been two more successful female engineering graduates.