Monday, June 16, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Watchman's daughter tops plus 2 exams
Naveen S. Garewal & Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 15
It's is a dream come true for Sher Bhadur and his wife Padma Devi: Their daughter Tulsa topped the Plus-Two examination of the Punjab School Education Board, the result of which was declared today.

Sher Bhadur, a watchman with the Hero Group, had come here from Nepal in 1984 after marrying Padma Devi, now a school peon, with the hope of providing his family a good future. His concern at that time was not merely to earn a livelihood, but to ensure that his progeny achieved something in life. Today, Tulsa has done her parents proud.

The happiest person today, much more than her parents, is Mr M.R Mehta, Principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School at Focal Point, who picked up three young girls, all from poor families and coaxed them to excel. Consequentially Tulsa stood first and Vishnu Priya and Jashanjeet secured the fourth and fifth positions. Vishnu’s father too is a factory worker; Jashanjeet herself runs a beauty parlour to make both ends meet.

“My daughter has been brilliant from childhood; she has always excelled in studies and was hoping to secure even higher marks. But without the painstaking guidance and coaching of Mr Mehta, the school girls would have stood no where”, Padma Devi told The Tribune.

About seven years ago, the Hero Group started the BCM Model School with a view to providing educational facilities to the wards of their employees. Tulsa, being a ward of a watchman was offered a 50 per cent fee concession and she moved here from the neighbouring St Farid School in Class V. Since, even the discounted fee was too much for the family, her mother Padma Devi joined the school as a ‘mai’ (attendant) to supplement the family income.

“Tulsa did not take my presence at school as a handicap. On the other hand it helped her in a sense that the teachers paid her extra attention boosting her confidence and pushing her to work harder. Right from childhood, Tulsa would come home and finish her homework before she ate”, says Padma Devi.

Since Tulsa was bright since her early days in school, she secured a scholarship of Rs 1400 annually from the Nehru Sidhant Kendra. “This money proved to be a great boon with this money I could buy extra books and take care of my own expenses. This gave my parents financial strength to send my two younger brothers Dil Bhadur and Karan to school”, Tulsa said. One of her brothers has appeared for Class 10 boards, while the other one will write his matriculation exam next year.

“I am determined to become a teacher and follow the path shown by my mentor, Mr Mehta. There are thousands of children from families like mine, but are not as fortunate as me. I would like to work with them to make their lives more meaningful”, she said.

After having put in eight to 10 hours into studies each day for the last two years, Tulsa hopes to secure a place in the local Government College for Women. “I am not very confident in spoken English, though I would have secured at least 75 per cent marks in the subject, so I am pushing myself into overcoming this shortcoming. It is important for a teacher to be good in spoken English”, she said. Perhaps I may even come back one day to my alma mater to pay back in the form of teaching, all that I have received.

Out of a merit of 36 students declared by the Punjab School Education Board, there are seven students from Ludhiana city and two from neighbouring Jagraon. Miss Simranjit of R.S Model Senior Secondary School has secured the third position, just behind a Mohali student who is second. Daughter of a bank employee, Simranjit aims at becoming a professor of mathematics. Vishnu, who has stood fourth, says she will do a PhD in Economics, while her friend Jashanjeet, fifth on merit, too wants to become a teacher.


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