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After Class 12, he didn’t have money to purchase application forms for medical colleges. So Kamalakannan worked in a grocery shop for Rs 3,000 a month and purchase forms. Now, with support from many, Kamalakannan has become a doctor after finishing his MBBS degree at Stanley Medical College.

Kamalakannan studied Tamil medium at his school. He is the first graduate in his family and also the first doctor in Pungavadi, his village 15 km from Athur in Salem. Now, Dr Kamalakannan is preparing for NEET PG.

Pungavadi is located on the foothills of mountains. There is no bus service to the village. One has to walk 5 km to Sengavalli to take a bus, or 5 km in another direction to Manjini.

His father, Subramani, never went to school. Mother Balammal had studied up to Class 5.

Though she couldn’t complete her school education, Gomathi was determined to help her brother finish school

The family had some rain-fed land. If there were rains, they would do farming. If rains failed, his parents would work at the 100-day job scheme to earn a livelihood.

Right from his Class 5, Kamalakannan helped his parents in farming. His sister Gomathi studied at the government school in Sengavalli. She stopped school after Class 9 since they had no money to support her education. She is now married.

After Class 5, Kamalakannan helped his father in farm work in Pungavadi village

Kamalakannan studied up to Class 8 at Pungavadi government school. The situation was such that he would have also dropped out of school. But his cousin, Prabhu, a teacher at the government school in Ariyapalayam stressed the importance of education. He said Kamalakannan could stay at their house and continue his studies. So he joined the government school there. In Class 10, Kamalakannan scored 443 out of 500, coming second in school. He scored 100 in science.

Learning that Vaigai Matriculation School in Vazhappadi educated for free students who scored more than 400 in Class 10, Prabhu got Kamalakannan admission there. In Class 11 at that school, Kamalakannan took Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Kamalakannan stayed at his sister’s house in Vazhappadi and went to school. Though she couldn’t complete her school education, Gomathi was determined to help her brother finish school.

Kamalakannan scored 1127 out of 1200. He scored 200 in Biology, 194 in Physics, 198 in Chemistry and 198 in Maths. His cut-off for medical was 195.50.

To pay for medical application forms, he worked at a grocery shop in Sengavalli. For wages of Rs 3,000, he would carry heavy gunny bags filled with cereals and other groceries, as well as package them in paper for retail sales. It was a 12-hour job, 8am to 8pm.

After Class 12, Kamalakannan worked at a grocery shop to earn money to buy medical application forms

With that money, by the time results came, he applied for medical and veterinary studies. He couldn’t get admission in medical college that year but joined veterinary college. He got admission in BDS but didn’t join. He did one year BVSc at Namakkal Veterinary College. He applied to Agaram Foundation, as per cousin Prabhu’s advice, who then supported his education.

Kamalakannan outside Stanley Medical College where he studied

After one year BVSc, his mentors at Agaram Foundation asked him to apply for MBBS again. Kamalakannan did so. He got admission at Madurai Medical College in the first round of counseling and at Stanley in the fourth round. Kamalakannan joined MBBS after leaving BVSc.

While the first year in BVSc and MBBS were difficult since the classes were in English and he came from Tamil medium, Kamalakannan got support from Agaram Foundation in learning English. His self confidence was boosted as a result. His grades improved from his second year onwards. Kamalakannan finished his MBBS in 2021.

Dr Kamalakannan is hoping that he is selected by state health services and he gets an opportunity to serve in public health

After working for two months at a private hospital, he started preparing for PG NEET. His plan is to take the test in May and then go back to work. If he gets admission, he would like to pursue pediatrics or geriatrics. Stipend given for PG would take care of his education expenses.

Dr Kamalakannan is hoping that he is selected by state health services and he gets an opportunity to serve in public health. He wants to serve as doctor at the upgraded primary health center at Manjini or at the taluk hospital in Athur. Even after doing PG, he wants to return and serve his folk where he grew up. Dr Kamalakannan wants to establish a care center for the elderly at Pungavadi where he was born and grew up.

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