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Madhyamik 2022: Those who beat the odds to excel

The Telegraph speaks to three students whose marks are testimony of their will power despite trying circumstances

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 04.06.22, 08:04 AM
(From left) Rupsa Baidya, Sameen Qaiser and Loknath Das

(From left) Rupsa Baidya, Sameen Qaiser and Loknath Das

Sourced by The Telegraph

The Covid pandemic had cast a shadow on the life of students, some of whom were on the brink of giving up studies owing to financial challenges. But they fought on, some financially and some physically. Jhinuk Mazumdar of The Telegraph speaks to three students who had appeared for the Madhyamik this year and whose marks are a testimony of their will power despite the trying circumstances. 

Rupsa Baidya, 79.8%


Howrah Jogesh Chandra Girls’ School

Bringing up her daughter alone, Rupsa’s mother was managing as a primary teacher in a private school. But Covid only compounded the struggles of the mother and daughter because the school in Howrah where she was working shut down in April 2020.

The duo, who live in a single room with a common washroom that they and their neighbours use, survived on ration provided by different organisations during lockdown and beyond that.

Rupsa would attend online classes sitting on the bed while her mother would cook in the same room.

But Rupsa managed to score 73 in Bengali, 91 in English, 87 in mathematics, 68 in physical science, 76 in life science, 72 in history and 92 in geography.

“The school where I was working said that the students are not paying the fees and so they cannot run it any longer..,” said Mitali Baidya, Rupsa’s mother.

When her mother’s school closed down, Rupsa was terrified that she might have to quit studies. “I was scared. But my mother assured me that I would not have to. We had a phone but we could not recharge. My school helped me there.”

The circumstances have not yet improved, said mother Mitali, who does whatever she can lay her hands on.

“Currently, I give private tuition to primary children and make about Rs 3,000 from it,” said Mitali.  

Sameen Qaiser, 71.5%

St Stephen’s School, Phears Lane

Sameen’s father would supply plastic scraps and barely made Rs 5,000, a month, until his death in May 2020.

Her mother has been ailing and Sameen and her brother depend on her uncle and a few other relatives.

Managing the two years with one device that she shared with her brother, Sameen scored 77 in Hindi, 94 in English, 66 in mathematics, 70 in physical science, 50 in life science, 82 in history and 62 in geography.

The 17-year-old finds it uncomfortable to be dependent on other. So right after her Madhyamik she has started giving private tuition. “I get Rs 1,300 but that way I can take care of some of my school expenses. We become a burden on others otherwise....”

Sameen said it was hard even when her father was alive but despite that there was one source of regular income.

“After the pandemic and his death, things became more difficult,” she said.

Loknath Das, 77%

Udaypur Haradayal Nag Adarsha Vidyalaya, Belgharia

 At the age of seven, Loknath was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones disease).

Since then life has been a struggle for the son of a carpenter.

His mother, Sikha Das, would carry him to school when he was young. Later, his school arranged for a wheelchair for him to attend classes.

Loknath would go to Vellore for treatment but Covid hit the family hard and they were left with no earnings.

His mother would stitch blouses for a factory that had closed for about four months.

“I got back the work much later. But after taking care of my son and managing the house, I try to stitch at least two dozen blouses every day,” said Sikha.

“For every dozen, the factory gives me Rs 45,”  she added.

But that is not enough for her son’s treatment she said.

“He has to take three injections for which he has to be admitted to a hospital. It was due in March but I did not have the money so I could not give him,” said Sikha.

But despite all the odds, Loknath has persevered on and scored 82 in Bengali, 77 in English, 90 in mathematics, 73 in physical science, 67 in life science, 60 in history and 90 in geography.

All the struggles that his mother endured, which included buying a phone for him so that he could attend online classes, paid off.

“I made an initial payment of Rs 3,000 from my savings and the rest paid in installments in six months. I have told my son if he has to study he will have to understand it is going to be a constant struggle,” she said.

Last updated on 04.06.22, 08:04 AM

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