A fifth grader from DPS-Ranchi has catapulted Jharkhand to national spotlight with a stroke of his artistic skills.
Ankit Kumar's painting on "Save energy now for the brighter tomorrow" won him the third prize at the National Painting Competition held by the Union ministry of power at NTPC auditorium, Noida, on December 12. President Pranab Mukherjee feted Ankit, who had to compete with 105 contestants from across India, at a function to mark National Energy Conservation Day in New Delhi on December 14. The 11-year-old boy, who is the art secretary of the primary section of his school, received Rs 25,000 in cash, a wristwatch and a laptop bag.
All states and union territories had sent three students each ' the first three winners of state-level competitions ' to the meet.
"I am thrilled to be one of the winners of the prestigious competition. Though I came third, it's a remarkable achievement for me. Sir (the President), while giving away the prize, asked me about my painting and I described it confidently," Ankit told The Telegraph from Delhi.
Ankit, who is in Delhi with his father Shiv Narayan Mandal, will come back to Ranchi on Monday.
"As a father, it was the proudest moment of my life. Ankit started showing interest in art since he was four. He even began winning prizes at competitions at a very young age. We want him to pursue art as his career," said Mandal, an employee with the state public works department.
Describing his painting, Ankit said that he tried to depict the need to conserve solar, nuclear and wind energy for the future. "I have shown Mother Earth as a newborn, who is appealing to the masses to conserve the three forms of energy so that baby Earth can grow and have a brighter future," he explained.
From Jharkhand, as many as 1.36 lakh students from 1,957 urban and rural schools had participated in the painting competition's school-level stage, which was held in October. Thereafter, each school sent the lists of first three winners to nodal agency Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Jharkhand.
"Jury members appointed by the state HRD department shortlisted 50 paintings in the first week of November. The selected students then took part in the state-level painting competition held at Darbhanga house, CCL-Ranchi, on November 9," said R.C. Prasad, regional director-cum-nodal officer, painting competition, DVC, Jharkhand. The names of Ankit, who had come second, and the winner and second-runner up from Jharkhand were forwarded for the national-level competition.
Prasad hailed Ankit's performance as a great feat. "Though our students had taken part in such competitions earlier, it's the first time that a student from Jharkhand has actually bagged a place in the first three slots," he added.
Principal of DPS-Ranchi J. Mohanty could not contain his happiness. "Our students have been performing well in both academics and co-curricular activities like art. Ankit has brought joy to us," he said.
Ankit's art teachers Himadri Ramani, Dipti Gupta and Vinod Ranjan described him as a "talented and creative boy". "We merely tried to boost his creativity and the result is here," one of them said.