SIVAGANGA:His determination to become a qualified teacher to climb the social ladder is making him toil in the graveyard day and night since his adolescence. With no electricity at home, he studies by the light of a pyre.
M Shankar (24) of Chinnarajapuramin Manamadurai is not ashamed to follow in the footsteps of his father who is an undertaker. He too has been one ever since he was in Class 8.The money he earned from burning the dead has helped him earn a Masters in Chemistry. He graduated with a first class in undergraduation and second class in post graduation from Raja Durai Singam Government Arts and Science College in Sivaganga.
His neighbours and friends prevailed upon him to give up the work as they thought it to be menial but Shankar stood his ground as he considered it more dignified than seeking help from others.
“On coming to know the kind of job I have been doing after college hours, my classmates maintained a distance. Later, some of them started respecting me for my work,” he says.
It all started when he accompanied his father Murugesan (62) to the crematorium. As a boy, he assisted his father in cremating the dead and now as a young man, he is doing it by himself giving rest to his ageing dad.
Though a postgraduate in Chemistry, he does not have the wherewithal to pursue B.Ed to realise his dream of becoming a teacher. And, his self-respect does not allow him to seek financial help.
Shankar faced much difficulty in paying tuition fee in college and also meeting the family expenses. He takes care of his parents while his three brothers and two sisters, all elder to him, are on their own. Still, he managed it with a measly `700 for cremating a body.
And, no help has come his way though he approached the government departments for education aid.