The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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At 53, mom scores & son slips

Sagar Island (South 24-Parganas), July 25: Mother has shown the way yet again to son.

Latika Mondal, 53, and son Rabi Sankar, 18, sat for this year’s higher secondary examination. The mother passed in second division, the son failed.

But Rabi is happy with his mother’s success for she had failed the last time round. He has an excellent example at home to emulate next year.

When results were released on July 18, the news ran through the island that the “student” mother in the Mondal family had made it.

“The elderly mother has passed, she has got a second division. But her son has failed; he was poor in English and physics” was the buzz.

Sagar Island, famous for its annual Makar Sankranti pilgrimage, has never before had a 53-year-old higher secondary examinee.

Everybody is happy with her success, including neighbours and local MLA Bankim Hazra of the Trinamul Congress.

So is Latika, but she would have been happier if she could also celebrate her son’s success. She will have to wait till next year for Rabi to follow her example.

Several villagers and political leaders, cutting across party lines, turned up at a programme on Sunday to felicitate Latika. There were congratulations all around.

They praised the determination of Latika, who had failed in English and maths last year, to overcome the hiccup and set an example for other women.

Latika took her exam in humanities as an external candidate from Khan Saheb Abad High School along with a number of candidates from the island. Her son, too, was an external candidate, in the science stream.

Hazra said Latika had made the villagers proud. “It is not the success of an individual candidate alone, but that of all the women of Sagar Island. Latika, a housewife, appeared in the exam while managing her household.”

She braved odds other than household chores and her advancing age.

In Sagar Island, nights at home are lit by kerosene lamps because solar power, the island’s only source of energy, does not last through the long dark hours.

Like other students who study by the light of a kerosene lamp, Latika, too, burned the midnight oil, literally, Hazra said.

Sova Dutta, former zilla parishad sabhadhipati and an important district CPM functionary, said she wants to rope in Latika to promote literacy in the island, particularly among women.

“We are trying to project her in Sagar Island as a woman who never lost her thirst for education. Moreover, if we can get her to spread the message of education among women, it will be a remarkable achievement,” Dutta said.

Latika is not sitting idle after her remarkable success. She wants to go to college and hopes Hazra will help with the admission.


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