GUWAHATI: A class XII boy in Assam, whose father could afford to offer just a gourd or a chicken to pay for his school “fees”, topped the board exam (science stream), the results of which were announced on Tuesday.
The story of Rajababu Saikia, an aspiring IITan from an extremely humble background, is one of poverty and hard work and one which reinstates faith that goodness is still alive.
When Rajababu could not afford education after tenth standard, it was Dilip Kumar Bora, principal of the private Ramanujan Junior College, in central Assam’s Nagaon district, who came forward to offer free education to this bright boy. Rajababu’s father Jantu Saikia, who hails from northern Assam’s Lakhimpur district, did not have fees to pay for the boy’s education, leave aside other comforts of life.
“His father had approached me seeking free admission of his son. He told me about his poor financial position and after verifying what he told me, I admitted Rajababu in our college and put him in a hostel – all for free,” the principal said. “Whenever he (Saikia) came to see his son, he would bring along a chicken or a gourd or other vegetables which he offered me as a mark of gratitude,” the principal added.
For 10 years, Saikia worked in a venture college as a clerk until falling out with the college authorities and quitting the job. “I had donated land for the purpose of building the college approach road. Recently, when a junior colleague was arbitrarily promoted, I quit the job in protest. I worked there for free as the jobs of teachers and others are yet to be regularised,” he said. “My wife is a school teacher. Till two years ago, her salary was a meagre Rs.2,500. Her present salary of Rs.15,000 has helped our family of four going. My eldest son is a college student,” Saikia said.
The family is elated over Rajababu’s feat. Saikia said Rajababu was confident of clearing the joint entrance examination (JEE) for admission into IIT. “He has appeared in the JEE for admission into IIT and is confident of clearing it. He has already cleared the JEE for NIT,” he said.
Rajababu scored 482 out of a total of 500. He had scored around 95 per cent in his class X board exam but missed the top-10 list by a whisker. He attributed his success to his parents and teachers. “I am feeling very happy to have topped the exam. It was possible due to the blessings and guidance of my parents, principal and teachers besides my hard work,” he said.