Gagan Pal 16
School: Majidkhana Higher Secondary School, near Alipurduar
The son of a day-wage labourer, Gagan scored 645 (92.14 per cent) out of 700 in Madhyamik. His thatched house at Uttar Majidkhana village has no electricity. Gagan studied under a kerosene lamp till his eyes watered.
“Our family has four members — father, mother and younger brother who studies in Class IV make up the other three — and we all stay in the same room. I had three tutors and they, as well as my schoolteachers, helped me a lot. Without their help, I wouldn’t have got good marks.”
Gagan’s father Provash Pal works in a tea stall and makes Rs 100-150 a day.
The family’s poor financial condition did pose odds before the boy, but he took them in his stride.
“My father doesn’t earn much and couldn’t purchase enough reference books for me,” Gagan said.
The boy wants to become a doctor and work in his village, which is 16km from Alipurduar and has no medical service available.
But father Provash wants the son to study humanities as studying science could prove costly.
“My income is not sufficient to meet the expenses at home. I used to pay small amounts to my son’s tutors. Sometimes, I couldn’t even pay,” Provash said.
“I know my son wants to become a doctor. But our financial condition doesn’t permit it. So, I want him to study arts in Plus II,” Provash said.
Bhaskar Sinha, Gagan’s school-teacher, said the boy could have got more marks.
“He loves cricket and plays the game every afternoon. From Class V, we sensed that he was different from other kids. He is shy, talks little and never asks for any help from teachers.”
Tiyasha Mahaldar 16
School: Radharani Nari Shiksha Mandir, Santipur
Her limbs are weak and small. She can’t hold a pen, sit up or walk. But Tiyasha Mahaldar of Nadia’s Santipur scored 74.7 per cent —a feat that made her parents, teachers, classmates and her doctor “salute” her.
The 16-year-old student of Radharani Nari Shiksha Mandir in Santipur suffers from phocomelia — a congenital disorder that leads to malformation of limbs. She is less than 3ft tall and writes clutching the pen with both hands.
A phone call from the school informing Tiyasha’s father of the score made the Calcutta police assistant sub-inspector break down on Thursday.
“When Tiyasha was one year old, we realised that her limbs were not growing normally. We took her to several doctors but were told there was hardly any treatment for her. It was not easy for us to bring up a special child like her. People avoided us but we never lost hope. Today, Tiyasha has shown immense mental strength. We salute her.”
Tiyasha has a younger brother who studies in Class VII.
Mother Supriya, a homemaker, praised the teachers for contributing to the success of Tiyasha and for cooperating with the family.
“Her teachers ensured classes were held on the ground floor so that we don’t have to carry her up. They also arranged for a big table so she could lie down and follow the classes,” the homemaker said, tears in her eyes.
Tiyash’s friends and teachers were all praise for her courage to carry on with her studies despite having to take prolonged leaves because of health problems.
Tiyasha, who wants to become a teacher, said: “I will take up arts and complete my MA. I wanted to study science, but I will not be able to attend practical classes in the laboratory.”
School: Nilnalini Vidya Mandir, Siliguri
Tapas Prasad, a visually impaired student, is happy that he has been able to fulfil his father’s dream by securing first division.
The 17-year-old lost his mother when he was just three years old and has been raised by his father, Sarvan Prasad, and grandmother Bhagirathi.
“I am the only child and my father is a mason. He has been looking after me with the help of my grandmother since my mother died. He always wanted me to secure good marks. Today, I feel really happy that I have fulfilled his dream by scoring 430 (out of 700) in Madhyamik,” said Tapas.
Although his home is near Sevoke Road on the outskirts of Siliguri, Tapas got enrolled in Prerana Educational Centre, an education and rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities, at Salugara in 2003 where he studied till Class VI.
He joined Nilnalini Vidya Mandir in Class VII.
Tapas recounts that while preparing for Madhyamik, he had great difficulty practising math.
“It is not easy for a visually impaired person to study math. It took me great effort to learn the mathematical formulas and solve problems. However, my teachers constantly guided me on the subject. For the other subjects, I studied with the help of Braille books and listened to recordings of different lessons,” he said.
“I have got good marks today because of the guidance and support of my teachers and friends,” he added.
As his favourite subject is history, Tapas wants to be a history teacher some day.
“I love history, especially the chapters on the freedom movement. It is inspiring to read how our leade rs fought to get the country liberated from British rule. I am happy I scored 74 in history. In the future, I see myself as a history teacher in a school, teaching the same lessons to my students,” he said.
pass mark eludes her
Madhyamik good news eluded the schoolgirl who was set on fire in May last year allegedly by her father and stepmother for refusing to get married. She could not clear her exams, the result for which was announced on Thursday.
The girl, a resident of Hooghly’s Khanakul, was one of the recipients of West Bengal State Bravery Award in January for her fight to resist her marriage in order to continue her studies.
She was under treatment in Calcutta for about three months after she was set ablaze.
The teenager has been staying with her aunt in a village 15km from her home. Her father and stepmother were arrested but are out on bail now.
She was disheartened when she learnt that she had not passed Madhyamik. “I did not expect such a result. My answer scripts should be reviewed,” she said.
Her teachers at her high school too, seemed disappointed.
Headmaster Gautam Josh said: “We had taken special care of her. We also helped her with free tuitions. But her result has disappointed her. We knew her to be an average student but we don’t know why she did badly. She may have done badly because of mental pressure.” Josh said he had told the student to prepare for next year. “We will help her in every way possible.”
The girl’s aunt said she wanted her to stay with her. “After learning about her result, she did not have lunch. I want her to continue studies and prepare for next year,” she said