The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 22 , 2014
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She’s tailor-‘maid’ for academic glory

- Tribal girl scored 64 per cent in MA while working as a full-time domestic help

Neatly dressed and unfailingly polite, Nely Xalxo of Ranchi has a CV most people would find unbelievable.

She is a maidservant with 64 per cent marks in MA political science. In her late twenties, she’s now preparing for National Eligibility Test to become a college lecturer. And, her ultimate aim in life is to open a school that would have “all the facilities I missed in my village school in Saparom”.

Saparom village, 20km from Ranchi, is where Nely grew up and studied till matriculation. Widowed early, Nely’s mother Salen found it difficult to bring up five children, four girls Neelam, Nely, Nishi and Ashrin, and the boy, Naveen. So Nely decided to come to Ranchi where her elder sister Neelam worked as a maidservant at the Argora home of retired Lt Colonel R.A. Prasad and his wife Bela.

That was 12 years ago. And since then, her life changed.

Prasad, who was in the Indian Army Service Selection Board as a psychologist, supported Neelam while she pursued her graduation in political science and bagged a schoolteacher’s job in Uttar Pradesh. But, he saw something special in Nely.

Encouraged by Prasad and his wife, Nely joined Gossner College and passed her intermediate and graduation. Then, she enrolled in IGNOU for her post-graduation. Simultaneously, she worked as a maid throughout.

She also kept Plan B ready. She trained herself as a beautician just in case her academic career met a dead end.

But her marks in her post-graduation last year has left everyone stunned. Assistant director of IGNOU regional centre Arwind Manoj Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that it was no mean achievement.

“How many people get 64 per cent in MA? It is not easy even for students who live in every comfort and immerse themselves in studies and practically live in libraries. Here, you have a girl who is working as a maidservant and scoring such high marks. This is an ideal example of success against odds,” Singh said.

Nely’s employer and “uncle”, Prasad couldn’t hide his pride.

“Nely has really done a great job in my view,” he said. “She came to my house when her elder sister Neelam left working here as she got a schoolteacher’s job. Neelam was talented, but Nely has surpassed our expectations.”

He added that they encouraged Nely as much as possible. “She is very disciplined and meticulous. She will definitely excel in her career as an academic.”

Nely thanked Prasad and his wife. “Uncle and auntie showered love and encouragement on me like parents do and always encouraged me to study. I live here like a family member,” she said.

Thanks to Nely and Neelam, the other sisters are also studying in Ranchi. Nishi is doing her intermediate while working in an NGO, Ashrin graduated with economics honours. “Our brother Naveen did not study, but he’s happy working as a farmer,” Nely said. “But, he’s very proud of us.”

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