Eklavya (Sanskrit: एकलव्य, éklavya) is a character from the Hindu epic, the Mahābhārata. He is a young prince of the Nishadha, a confederation of jungle tribes in Ancient India. Eklavya aspired to study archery in the gurukul of Guru Dronacharya, the greatest known teacher in the use of weaponry and martial knowledge at the time. He was son of Vyatraj Hiranyadhanus, a talented soldier in the army of King of Magadha. Magadha was ruled by Jarasandha, who was at odds with the Kingdom of Hastinapura.
Eklavya sincerely sought the mentorship of Drona in weaponry and martial art. Drona discouraged him, and ultimately rejected the boy due to his caste. Out of respect for Drona, Eklavya began a program of self-study, using a clay image of Drona for inspiration. Eventually, Eklavya achieved a level of skill superior to that of Arjun, who was Drona's favorite and most accomplished student, and part of the royal Pandava family. The Pandavas come across the boy in the forest one day, and Eklavya told them of his self study under the idol of Drona. In a cruel move, the guru demanded that Eklavya cut off his right thumb in obeisance to his guru, a request that could not be refused by a student in a gurukul. Eklavya agreed to the demand without hesitation, severing his right thumb and presenting it to Drona.
Article Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekalavya