The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Another star in lap of poverty
Sujit: Will over wealth

Krishnagar, June 17: A rank of 142 in the Joint Entrance Examination can fetch a berth in a premier medical college in Calcutta, but Sujit Mridha is not sure about what awaits him thereafter.

His father, who used to work as a daily labourer, can no longer do so because of failing health. His mother Purnima, who sews garments to earn Rs 20 a day at best, has also got to provide for his brothers, who are in classes VI and VII.

Sujit braved all odds to come this far. Five years ago his father Sankar was diagnosed with multiple ailments ' asthma and bronchial problems for example. He had to sell his two bighas to meet his own medical requirements and his sons' education expenses.

Sankar said: 'I stopped going to the field. But I did not allow my sons to take my place. I asked them to concentrate on their studies.'

It has paid off. From Bagula High School at Hanskhali, about 75 km from Calcutta, Sujit scored 839 in his HS examination and also made it to the medical merit list. His brothers, too, are among the top 10 students of their class.

Purnima, now the sole bread earner in the family of five, said: 'At times I felt I could no longer pull through and thought of asking my eldest son to give up school and start working instead. I am relieved that Sujit did not have to discontinue his studies.'

Accompanied by his father, Sujit met Nadia district magistrate Rajesh Pandey yesterday with the plea to arrange his admission to a medical college. 'DM saheb promised us that he will do the needful,' Sankar said after the meeting.

Pandey was 'amazed' by Sujit's performance. 'I will try my best to ensure a bank loan for him,' he said.

Sujit is grateful to his headmaster and seniors. 'They offered me me books and free coaching. I would not have achieved what I have but for their help,' he said.

Headmaster Ramaprasad Mondal is elated. 'He not only got a good rank in the JEE, but also stood first in school with over 80 per cent in physics, math, chemistry and biology.'

For the 18-year-old, the only wish now is to become a doctor. 'Our village lacks a good doctor. People don't get proper treatment... I will serve them.'

Manjur Hossain of Burdwan and Sandeep Chandra of West Midnapore, whose parents, too, barely scratched a living every month, had also made it to the JEE list. Murshidabad's Ourangajeeb did not have the money to apply for the entrance examination, but scored over 86 per cent in HS.

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