Son of utensil merchant is Kashmir topper in IIT JEE Advanced | Sikh Vogue


FOR TARANDEEP Singh,19, his birthday Monday was special. A day earlier, the teenager from Baramulla learnt he had qualified in JEE Advanced, the entrance to the IITs, with the highest rank in Kashmir this year.

Tarandeep, whose all-India rank is 872, feels it could have been better. “But considering the fact that very few [from the Valley] have qualified, I am satisfied,” says the son of a utensil merchant from Kanispora, on the outskirts of Baramulla town. He now hopes to join mechanical or electrical engineering in either IIT Kharagpur, Kanpur or Delhi.

“Let us see if I get my dream IIT and stream,” says Tarandeep, who credits his seniors at St Joseph’s School for pushing him to prepare. “It was not as if this was my childhood dream. After class X, I was inspired by IITians among my seniors at school. They are doing very well,” says Tarandeep, who went for coaching in Kota after high school in 2015. “I wanted to focus on my goal. I did both my senior school and coaching from Kota,” says Tarandeep, who also lauds his high school teachers. “They had created a strong base.”

His parents, Tejinder Singh and Arvinder Kaur, say the entire family had been anxiously waiting for the result but were confident. “We knew for sure that he would qualify as he has worked hard for two years,” says Tejinder, adding his son used would study till 3 am, only to wake up at 8 am.

According to the chairman of the Coaching Centres Association, Kashmir, G N Var, only three students from Kashmir — Tarandeep and one each from Srinagar and Anantnag — have made the JEE Advanced merit list. “Only around 200 students even qualified to appear for JEE Advanced,” Var says.

An Army spokesperson, however, said nine more students from the force’s Kashmir Super-40, a coaching initiative for the youth of J&K, have cleared the exam.

Among the three mentioned by the Coaching Centres Association is Abdul Baki Mir of Kawairigam village, 16 km from Anantnag town. With his rank, though, he isn’t sure if he will get an IIT berth. “He is already in the first semester of computer engineering at NIT Srinagar.

I hope his dream of making it to the IIT is fulfilled this time,” says Baki’s father, Abdul Rehman Mir, a teacher at a government higher secondary school. “My elder son is also studying engineering.”

The nine qualifiers from the Kashmir Super-40 initiative are Aqib Amin, Mohammad Mussa, Bashir Ahmed, Nasir Ali, Imtiyaz Hussain, Feroz Ahmed, Maisam Ali, Shahid Sultan and Jahangir Shakeel.

“The success achieved this year was overwhelming with 9 out of a 36-student batch having qualified,” the Army spokesman said, adding the successful students interacted with Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat in New Delhi Tuesday.

The ‘Kashmir Super-40’ is being conducted by the Army at Srinagar in coordination with Centre for Social Responsibility and Learning (CSRL), and Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) since 2013. It provides a platform for underprivileged children from the state. “Free lodging and boarding along with coaching is provided to the selected 40 students of J&K for 11 months,” the spokesman said.

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