“You know what, I am pretty sure I should have scored more in History and Education. I missed the cut off required to move from Humanities to Nursing by a very thin margin. Of course, I’ve given my answer scripts for a recheck. But for now, I am concentrating on taking up English for my graduation and then doing my Masters in Social Work. My end objective remains the same. I want to help people. May be now, I will be able to help a larger number of people if I take up MSW.” History does repeat itself. Ananya Ghosh, a lanky teenager from Dhenua – a small, unassuming little village in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal – recreated history twice when the Higher Secondary Examination results were announced last week.
How? First, she maintains her record of being the student with the highest marks in board examinations from her village – an 82% in Class 10 and now an 84.8% in Class 12. And second, she is still not satisfied with her marks.
The other thing that remains constant is Ananya’s source of inspiration and encouragement – her father. Pronab Ghosh, secured a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Kalna College and came back to his village to run the small shop owned by his family. Unfortunately, the business collapsed and he decided to take up farming in the 2 bighas of land he possessed. It wasn’t easy for this marginal farmer to take the decisions that he did. But he took them. He stood by all three of his daughters, warding off every marriage proposal that came their way – “The proposals never reached our house,” says Ananya. He took extra care of their studies with all the knowledge he had gathered from his student years and spent all his free time guiding them. He made sure that they never learn to use poverty as an excuse or an impediment to their course of advancement in life.
Ananya with her sisters
It is not an uncommon occurrence that children flourish when parents invest their faith in them and put them first. And for Ananya, it has just become the motto of her life to make her father proud of her. “When I was preparing for my Madhyamik (Class 10), I only wanted to score well. While preparing for my Uchcha Madhyamik (Class 12), I knew these scores would help set me on my course in life. And all I want to do is prove that my father did the right thing – by not succumbing to societal pressures and working extra hard to make sure we sisters faced no hurdles in our pursuit of education.”
Mr. Ghosh is ecstatic. His focus also gets renewed with every test his girls pass with flying colours. “The college closest to our village is about 5km away. Ananya will have to cycle to the bus stand and then take a bus to and fro everyday to reach there. My wife’s paternal house is in Bardhaman and the college there is about the same distance from their house. I’ve been counseling her to pursue her studies from Bardhaman instead of here. She has merit and she deserves to go to a better college. I will see to it that she gets what she deserves in life. Now and forever,” he says.
We are proud of Ananya. But we’re even more proud of her father for being her guiding star.
(Ananya is from the intervention area of CRY partner Vikramshila Education Resource Society. You can help us create more such stories of hope here.)