A photo that recently went viral claims that the Sasaram Junction railway station in Bihar becomes a study area for students preparing for competitive exams such as the civil service exam and entrance tests for IITs and IIMs. Every morning and afternoon, for at least two hours, dozens of students packed the two platforms to prepare for various competitive exams because the station has electricity 24/7.
According to Business Standard, “It all started in 2002-03 when a small group of students started coming to Sasaram railway station to study. Now the Sasaram train station study groups have become an institution.”
A few months ago, IAS officer Awanish Sharan had posted the same story in a Twitter thread that had caught the imagination of thousands of rupees on the internet.
The post said, “For two hours every morning and evening, both the platforms 1 and 2 of the railway station turn into a coaching class for young people who are aspirants for the Civil Services.”
“Mostly, the boys are from Rohtas, the district in Bihar that is hit by Left-wing insurgency. In many villages, either there is no power or the electricity is only intermittent,” it further read.
The reason: Sasaram station has electricity 24X7. Mostly, the boys are from Rohtas, the district in Bihar that is hit by Left wing insurgency. In the village there is no power. These boys see a government job as the end of their struggles or #education as a stepping stone in their journey
The station has been acknowledged in its role in shaping careers; has actually issued 500 identity cards to the boys to enable them to come and go freely, using the platform as temporary open classrooms.
Last year, after a tweet went viral, The Indian Express found that while these study groups had existed since 2002 in some form, they no longer existed. According to an NDTV article, an officer even said that the photo that went viral was of students heading to an exam and waiting for a train and not of students studying on the platform.
Students and locals said that the number of students had increased to a thousand at one point. Some local men who had gotten jobs in government departments attributed the success to the platforms; some would travel 20 kilometers to reach the station at night. A local resident cited a protest by applicants in 2018, allegedly over a delay in taking railway job exams, as the reason they were no longer allowed to study here.
Despite some warnings in the story, Hari Singh Shekhawat’s LinkedIn post has sparked a flurry of comments. Posted four days ago, it had nearly 11,000 reactions by June 7. While many take inspiration from the men’s struggle, others seek to make bigger points.
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