Every person from India has watched Rajkumar Hirani's movie - 3 idiots. This Indian movie has become worldwide hit and ranks under the top ten high grossing internationally. Movie and its characters have received tremendous love from their audience. Aamir Khan’s character Phunsukh Wangdu was inspired by the real-life story of an Indian engineer-cum-scientist called Sonam Wangchuk.
|Image Source: By Sonam Wangchuk - https://www.flickr.com/photos/142320870@N07/33991280315/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, Link|
Sonam Wangchuk was born on 6th September 1966 in Uleytokpo, a tiny village in Leh district. Due to the unavailability of schools in his village, his mother taught him all the basics in their own language until the age of nine when he got enrolled in a Kendriya Vidhyalaya at Srinagar but he could not understand much due to the alien language. At the age of 12, he traveled alone to Delhi to join the Vishesh Kendriya Vidyalaya for border children. He had a habit of learning the syllabus in advance in order to be able to answer the questions of his teacher and thereby gain the teacher's confidence over him. He was so much obsessed with being perfect that due to unsatisfactory low grade 58% received in Xth, he wanted to repeat the class.
To study further in his favorite IT engineer, he got enrolled at the National Institute of Srinagar for mechanical engineer against the wish of his dad and as a result, his father denied to pay the fee for college admission, Sonam managed to pay for his study expenditure by taking tuitions. He observed that children speaking Ladakhi at home were learning their lessons in Urdu and English, and that was the main reason for many students to get failed in the exam.
Soon after completing his engineering, along with brothers, he founded an organization SECMOL (The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) that would focus on the problems that are faced and the reason behind lacking the focus by young students. This organization was aimed at changing the tradition that the educational system of Ladakh was following and making the syllabus student-friendly. He won the Raman Magsaysay award 2018 for bringing tremendous education reforms in Ladakh.
Another creation that made him famous and gain attention from the world was the invention of "Ice Stupa" that's actually a Glacier grafting technique creating artificial glaciers, used to store winter water (which would otherwise go unused) in the form of conical-shaped ice heaps. The Ice Stupa melts during summer when water is scarce and would help to get water source for crops. Sonam Wangchuk created the first 6 meters (20 ft) Ice Stupa in October 2013 by freezing 150,000 l (40,000 U.S. gal) in Leh. Using gravity the water was piped from the upstream. Electricity or any machinery was not used for pumping the water. The Ice Stupa did not fully melt until 18 May 2014, even if the temperature was above 20 ° C.
After recognizing his efforts Government of Jammu and Kashmir appointed him in Expert panel group for framing the Jammu and Kashmir State Education Policy and Vision Document.
Sonam Wangchuk believes that the person should follow his passion. His, school SECMOL, provides admission to the students who failed their 10th boards and lets them go for the courses they have interest in. He is of opinion that, more than artificial intelligence there is the need for basic intelligence.
For cooking, heating rooms, lighting, and pumping water and heating are done by generating electricity from solar power. His school is too managed by its students. His efforts towards education led the local authorities to change their official language from Hindi to Ladaki.
In 2013, he helped launch the New Ladakh Movement (NLM) – a social campaign with the goal of working towards sustainable education, environment, and economy on repeated requests from students in Ladakh. It was intended to unite all Ladakh's political leaders for Ladakh's development and growth.
Recently, in the wake of Coronavirus Pandemic and Chinese Aggression, he has urged people of India and worldwide to stop using Chinese products to discourage Chinese military bullying in Ladakh and the South China Sea. See his video message on Youtube.