A photo of Hanan Hamid selling fish in the market from a Facebook post by Kerala chief minister Pinarayai Vijayan Image Credit: Facebook

Thiruvananthapuram: A gritty college student in Kerala who narrated her determined efforts to make ends meet to local media, has turned overnight into a social media star, but has also divided people over the veracity of her tale.

The story of Hanan Hamid, a college student in Ernakulam district, in Mathrubhumi newspaper, detailing the multitude of challenges she faced in life including her financial constraints and having to endure the pain of her parents parting ways, became an instant hit on social media.

The news story recounted how her day begins at 3am, how she spends some time studying in the early hours and then goes to Chambakkara to buy fish in the wholesale market, stocks it at an acquaintance’s house, goes to college, and in the evening makes some money selling the fish, and then reaches home late in the evening for only a few hours of rest before starting another day.

While the heart-rending story earned her millions of fans on social media, there were others who criticised her saying that the entire story had been tailored to enable her to win some roles in the movies.

Faced with a whirlwind of criticism that followed the fanfare on social media, Hanan requested her critics to just “let me live”.

The college girl had some consolation, however, as a number of personalities came forward to support her, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “It is a commendable thing to stand on your own feet, and the satisfaction of footing one’s education expenses by working is admirable. Those who have gone through such painful situations in life will be able to appreciate it,” Vijayan said.

Referring to the wave of criticism directed at her on social media, the Chief Minister said it was not advisable to spread everything that one came to know through social media without verifying them.

Former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan also came out in support of Hanan.

The State Women’s Commission chairperson, M.C. Josephine said police had been directed to file cases against those who attempted to defame Hanan on social media. Josephine said social media was becoming a platform where anything could be said.

Josephine herself was then subjected to criticism on social media, with some making abusive comments.