It’s not a rags to riches story, as the contestant’s winning money will not remain with him, but when 18-year-old Manoj Kumar will appear on Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 6 on Sunday evening, he will cover a new journey – from obscurity to fame – in the process.
Manoj, a boy from the poorest of poor Musahar (Mahadalit) community in Bihar, will be rubbing shoulders with Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai on the game show on Sony channel.
Manoj got an invite to take part in the show through his school, Shoshit Seva Sangh, a free of cost English-medium residential school for the children from the downtrodden Musahars(who are known to eat rats for survival).
The institute is being run by a non-profit organisation Shoshit Seva Sangh in Patna. The prize money will be donated to the school where Manoj, a Class XI student, has been studying since 2005.
Sitting on the hot seat opposite Big B was a dream come true for Manoj. “I cannot tell you how happy I am to have taken part in the show,” he said. “I had never dreamt in my life that I will get a chance to meet Amitabh Bachchan.”
Manoj said his experience on the hot seat had left a big impression on him. “I have learnt from Big B how to be happy and keep others happy even in the face of odds,” he said. Manoj is no stranger to adversity.
His family based in Jamsaut village near Danapur on the outskirts of Patna has struggled to make both ends meet over the years. His father Mahesh Manjhi is a daily wager while his mother Shanti Devi is a cook at an Anganwadi centre.
Manoj’s life would have remained a saga of prolonged struggle had the school for the Musahar children not opened in Patna.
“Manoj was one of the five students with whom we launched,” said J.K. Sinha, a former IPS officer who quit his job to devote his life to ameliorate the life of Musahar children through his school.