Imran Khan – Maths teacher from Alwar Modi mentioned in his UK Speech.

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ChaT Correspondent

Jaipur: Imran Khan is not able to take calls on his mobile phone and has asked his younger brother, Idrees, to handle them as he parrots his story – of how he got into making mobile apps – to reporters of news channels who have been descending on his small, two-room house in Alwar’s Laxmi Nagar like swarms since Saturday morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned him during his speech at the Wembley stadium on Friday evening when Imran was sleeping. A friend called him up to tell him that he was in the news all over. “I switched on my computer and logged into YouTube to listen to the PM’s speech, and haven’t been able to sleep since then. Some TV crews landed at my place at 2 am only,” he says.

The 34-year-old teacher of Mathematics in a government Sanskrit senior secondary school in Alwar (Rajasthan, India) isn’t in awe of OB vans beaming his stories on their channels live. He smiles disarmingly when locals greet him with garlands and offer sweets to him.

“I began making mobile apps as a hobby. I had made 42 apps when HT wrote about me. Now, there are 10 more, but I didn’t attract people’s focus until the PM mentioned my name,” he says matter-of-factly.

A few days back, at a conference in New Delhi, he donated all his apps to the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) when Union minister Smriti Irani called for it. Imran, along with six others of Project Ekta (more of this later) team had gone to the conference in Delhi, where Irani extolled his talent and sought his apps for the I-share for India project of the ministry for the common good of the country.

Imran says his apps have 3 million installs. In July 2015, they had 18 million screen views.

The school teacher has no formal education in computers, leave alone app development, and has learnt everything from “Google gurudev” and books.

Imran is now busy taking calls from Toronto, New York and London and from ministers and bureaucrats. The union information technology minister has sent a gift for him. His colleagues in the school are all here. “He’s extremely hard working and totally devoted to teaching,” says Laxmi Jain, 45, who teacher primary schold students. “All of us have installed his apps on our mobile phones and use them for teaching.” Chandra Prabha Sharma, another teacher, says Imran never works on his apps while in school.

Imran says he is aware that he might get job offers from private companies now but maintains that he would remain a teacher and continue to do what he has been doing. But his eldest daughter Samiya, who helps him in app development, doesn’t want a future in computers. “I want to become an IAS officer,” says the 15-year-old student of Class 10.

Imran lives in Alwar (Rajasthan) with wife, Kashmiri, and their three children – Samiya (15), Saniya (11) and Juner (5).

Project Ekta

In 2011, the then Collector of Alwar (Rajasthan, India) Ashutosh AT Pednekar started Project Ekta with two purposes: one, to get people’s participation in schools in terms of investment in infrastructure and in staff; and two, to ensure everything they did was done in-house, without hiring consultants. That’s house Imran Khan came into the project’s team. He was part of the core team comprising seven government employees; Imran handled the I-T part. The district administration identified gaps in terms of infrastructure and shortages in staff and invited companies to invest their CSR funds on the schools. The district has got an investment of Rs 15 crore in four years; around 40 teachers are getting their salaries from this investment.

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