‘Nothing better than becoming a teacher’: KBC winner teaches in Bihar government school

Sushil Kumar, the 2011 Kaun Banega Crorepati winner and now Bihar government school teacher wants to make students better citizens.

KBC Winner and Bihar government school teacher Suhsil Kumar. (Image: Special Arrangement)KBC Winner and Bihar government school teacher Suhsil Kumar. (Image: Special Arrangement)

Sanjay | February 23, 2024 | 06:17 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Sushil Kumar, who had won Rs 5 crore in 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) in 2011, now teaches psychology in a Bihar government school. Last year, he cleared the Bihar Public Service Commission’s (BPSC) Teachers Recruitment Exam (TRE) in two categories. A resident of Bihar’s Motihari, Kumar ranked 1692 on the list of selected social science subject teachers for Classes 6 to 8 and 119 on the list of psychology subject teachers for Classes 11 to 12.

His reason for pursuing a job that will fetch him Rs 45,440 per month even after winning a huge sum of Rs 5 crore in KBC: “Passion to motivate students to become better citizens.”

“I believe that a teacher can motivate students to become good human beings and to do better things in life, if he is able to put forward his words properly. I believe that if a teacher comes from a background which can motivate the students, then he can definitely create a better society,” Kumar told Careers360.

He always wanted to do “something” for the betterment of society and figured that becoming a teacher was the most effective route. “In order to do this, there is nothing better than becoming a teacher. In KBC, I had said that I like teaching children and now I have got the job of my choice,” he said.

Sushil Kumar’s education

Kumar studied in government schools in Motihari, district headquarters of East Champaran, Bihar. By 2006, he had graduate and postgraduate degrees from the government Munshi Singh College, Motihari, affiliated to Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar (BRA) Bihar University, Muzaffarpur.

His BEd degree came after the KBC victory, in 2015, and from a private college affiliated to the same state university. Later, he cleared the Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET) and Bihar State Teachers Eligibility Test (Bihar STET). In 2023, he cleared the BPSC teachers recruitment exam which saw appointment of nearly 2 lakh teachers in Bihar government schools.

“My duty is to teach psychology and other subjects. The responsibility of the quality of education lies upon the principal of that school. The responsibility of the overall quality of education in Bihar lies upon the state government. If I teach my subject properly, I will be happy that I contributed from my end. I will motivate students to become better citizens. If students understand what I teach, it would be a big source of satisfaction for me,” said Kumar.

He was among 500 teachers out of over 1 lakh qualified candidates who got their BPSC appointment letters from Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on January 13.

“My family members and I consider it a big achievement. My family, friends and well-wishers are proud of my achievement and I am also elated. I met several newly-appointed teachers during the event,” he said.

In his message for teaching job aspirants, Kumar asked them to make a routine for studying and be consistent. “They should keep in mind that their responsibility is to make students good citizens. They should not treat the job as just another government job and fulfill their responsibilities given to them honestly,” he said.

Now 40, he is enrolled in a PhD programme at BRA Bihar University investigating issues concerning psychology and the environment.

“The course started a month ago and I think I have to extend the PhD programme as I won’t get any leave from school. I think I will continue my PhD next year as the university provides two chances to extend the registration,” he said.

Also read What are Bihar’s new teacher recruitment rules and why have they led to protests?

Social work after KBC

Sushil Kumar spent the KBC reward money on social work. After his win, he had started plantation drives of peepal and banyan saplings which have become trees now. He has also started a campaign for sparrow conservation by installing wooden nests in homes around his village.

In 2015 itself, he had opened a coaching centre in Machhargawan, a village in East Champaran, to provide better education opportunities to children of the historically-marginalised and educationally backward Musahar caste. The coaching centre was operating with two teachers and 40-50 students every year till the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020. He would personally go to the centre to motivate children and regularly talk to their parents.

“I bore all the expense of running that coaching centre. I provided free copies, books, pens and other materials to students and provided salaries to teachers who taught the students,” he said.

The first Machhargawan student to complete Class 10 was from his coaching centre, Kumar said. Several others have completed Class 12 and are now in college. “Such things give me immense happiness and I want to motivate children through education in my role as a government school teacher too,” he said.

Also read Bihar Shikshak Sakshamta Pariksha: Teachers' body calls to retain staff in current schools

Family, celebrity, happiness

Kumar now lives in Hanumangarhi of Bihar’s Motihar with his six-member family that includes his father, brother, wife and two daughters. His elder daughter is studying in Class 5 and the younger daughter is three years old.

In 2020, there was a rumour that Kumar had gone bankrupt. He dismissed them as “fake news”, generated as a result of a Facebook post which people misunderstood. “People in my area used to think that I don't touch alcohol. I thought people would feel bad if they came to know about this from other sources so I myself wrote a post saying that I sometimes do drink. Some mediapersons misunderstood this and published fake news that I had lost all my money on alcohol and parties.”

He feels “astonished” that people care enough to spread rumours and consider him a celebrity. “Although I won a big amount 13 years ago, I am a simple man who rides a scooty. My family and friends never considered me as a celebrity,” he said.

“Those who show off by buying branded clothes, cars etc., to get praise and appreciation from people, believe in outer happiness. The problem with such people is that their happiness depends upon validation from other people and if they do not get it, they feel sad,” he said, explaining his theory of happiness. “But when you derive happiness from the results of your own deeds, it makes you happy from within. For example, if a sapling planted by me grows to become a tree, I feel elated. I do not need validation from others for such happiness. Hence, I live a simple life and am not dependent upon others’ validation.”

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