Education and Careers

12 AIIMS succesful candidates are Muslims from Kerala

New Delhi: For years, the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, India’s top medical college, entrance examination has been the hunt for the best. Students from Malabar, the Muslim-dominated northern region of Kerala, have been cracking the code consistently for the last five years, improving each year to make it to the much sought-after medical institute.

Of the 72 who cleared the MBBS entrance this year - there were more than 80,000 candidates - Kerala accounted for 27, a healthy 37.5 per cent. Twelve of the 27 are Muslims. And the majority hail from districts across Malabar - Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Palakkad and parts of Thrissur. The count of students from Kerala has been increasing steadily at AIIMS - 12 in 2008, 16 in 2009, 14 in 2010, 25 in 2011, 27 in 2012.Students say the “medicine craze” is a fairly recent phenomenon in the region. Most say they will be the first doctors in their families.

Anshida K, daughter of a businessman from Malappuram who made it to AIIMS this year, said: “For so many years, we produced the highest numbers of nurses from South Kerala. Now, we will give the country doctors as well.”

Anthropologist Vinod Krishnan T Y, associate programme coordinator with the Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST) - an autonomous institute under the Kerala government - which organised an orientation programme for first-year AIIMS students, said the growing numbers from suburban regions of Kerala is a “remarkable trend”. He said it could be attributed to the introduction of the OBC quota in the non-creamy layer. “Almost the entire OBC quota is taken by Muslims from North Kerala, a trend which we do not see in other reservations like the SC and ST categories. The aspiration levels in the community are clearly high, and they are capitalising on this opportunity,” he said. In the 2012 batch, nine of the 19 seats in the OBC quota have been taken by Muslims from Kerala. A majority of the successful candidates dropped a year after school to enrol full-time at coaching institutes.

The girls say that being away from home could have been an issue five years ago but now nothing beats attending the “best medical college” in the country.