Meet the man behind the iconic photo

PATNA, 19/03/2015: Family membrs and friends climb walls of Vidya Niketan school in Mahnar village 60kms from Patna, to pass on answer chits to the students appearing for SSC exams yesterday March 19, 2015.Photo: Special Arrangment.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One stark shot, and the nation’s conscience was under test. At the centre of the image was a grey, unplastered school building and clustered around its windows up across the four floors were friends and family members passing cheat sheets to candidates taking the 10th standard Board examinations at Mahnar in Vaishali district of Bihar.

The photograph has drawn international media attention. But its author remains stoic and humble. The outrage Rajesh Kumar’s iconic click generated has forced the Bihar government out of slumber, and the Patna High Court ordered the State Police Chief to take steps to check the rampant examination malpractice.

Officials said on Sunday that Rs. 15 lakh had been collected as fine from those caught involved in the mass cheating in various examination centres.

Over 1,000 people have been taken into custody from the 1,217 centres across the State.

Mr. Kumar of the Sahdei-Desri block in Vaishali district works for the local edition of a Hindi newspaper. “My photo has gone viral, but I am pushed into anonymity,” he told The Hindu on the phone.

The young journalist does not know how his famous click got national and international exposure.

“I just sent my picture to my bureau office at Hajipur which was carried in the paper next day, but after that, I saw the picture in national and international publications carried with the credit line of various photo agencies,” he said.

How does he feel when he sees his picture appearing in reputable national and international publications and forcing the government to act tough?

“What can I say? I feel humble and anonymous … what can I do? I’m a local block-level journalist,” Mr. Kumar said. “But yes, I feel satisfied that my picture has forced the government to act tough with mass copying and malpractices.”

Does he feel threatened when taking photographs at examination centres? “Yes, I live in a village and now people, seeing camera in my hand, become furious and sometime chase me away,” he said.

The Bureau chief of his newspaper at Hajipur, Shailesh Kumar, said: “He had sent us that picture, but we didn’t know that frame will go viral in such way.”

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:10:15 PM |

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