For the past five years, Silu Nayak is training local youths by a riverside at Arakhadu district in Odisha.
Popularly called Nayak Sir by his students, he has made his life's mission to help youngsters prepare for the armed forces examinations. For this, he has set up the 'Mahaguru Battalion' institute that admits students in his district and the nearby villages.
Nayak himself gave various Indian Army examinations but couldn't qualify. Even though he qualified for the Odisha Industrial Security Forces (OISF), which falls under Odisha Police in 2016, he chose not to join.
He decided that instead of joining the security forces, he would help the youngsters in his district to prepare for the armed forces examinations. Till now, he has trained 300 youngsters out of which 70 managed to get into the armed forces: 18 are in the Indian Army, three in the Indian Air Forces, and six in the Indian Navy. Others qualified for Central Reserve Police Forces and Border Security Forces.
"When I could not clear the entrance exam of the armed forces, I felt dejected. There are limited job opportunities in my village, and getting into the forces is one of the ways through which we could get secured jobs. I did not want any other educated young person preparing for the forces to face the same ordeal. That's when I decided to train the youngsters in my district to get prepared for the examination of armed forces," Silu Nayak told The Logical Indian.
Nayak recalls aimlessly wandering for two to three months when he could not clear the entrance exams. However, shortly after, he came up with a study plan that would help youngsters who would be attempting such competitive examinations for jobs.
Nayak said by training the youth in his district, he has found the purpose of his life. "I always wanted to work for a social cause, and running an institute makes me feel satisfied."
Training youngsters in physical exercise.
Talking about the training institute, Nayak said, "I start my day by training the aspirants in physical fitness. I ensure that they play sports often and make them practice drill regularly as it will help them to clear the physical examination round. Apart from this, I teach them current affairs and general knowledge as well. Performing well in both rounds will definitely increase their chances of getting selected. It also helps them to stay confident ahead of the competition exams."
Recalling the story of one of his students, Bikash Mohanty, Nayak said that he was directionless about what to do after finishing his senior secondary exams. Nayak provided training to him for two years before appearing for the Army exams. Finally, he cleared the exams and is now in the Indian Army Signal Regiment. The students in his district remain express gratitude to Nayak for assisting them in job preparations.
Nayak spends most of his time training the youngsters at his institute. He ensures that they receive rigorous training so that they can perform their best in the entrance test. Most of his students are residents of neighbouring villages and travel daily to attend the classes. However, for those who come from far-away districts, Nayak provides accommodation and food free of cost. He wants to give his best with whatever resources are available.
Recently, he was praised by Prime Minister Modi in his radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'. "I was overwhelmed to see my life story getting mentioned in 'Mann Ki Baat' by Prime Minister Narender Modi. It motivated me to work hard towards achieving my mission. Now, students from neighbouring districts have also started recognising me and appreciate me for what I do. I want to reach out to more youngsters and guide them in the right direction," Nayak concluded.