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Age no bar: Tripura mothers clear secondary exam with daughters, son

By The Assam Tribune

Agartala, June 7 (IANS): Smriti Banik had a dream: to succeed in the Madhyamik (secondary) examination. She nurtured this wish for two decades -- even as she got married, raised a family and dealt with abject poverty. Today, she is smiling -- the long-cherished dream has come true.

Along with her teenaged daughter Sagarika, this 38-year-old housewife in Bishalgarh, about 30 kilometres from Tripura capital Agartala, cleared this year's secondary examination by scoring 255 out of 700 marks. Sagarika too passed the test, scoring 238.

Both Smriti and Sagarika were enrolled in the Purba Laxmibill Higher Secondary School.

The mother-daughter duo had been preparing for the examination for weeks. They studied together, often through the nights. Smriti, who supplements the meagre family income --- her husband Jiban is a vegetable seller --- by running a tea stall, took some time off every day from the routine and household chores to study. It was not easy, but Smriti was clear in her mind: there's no alternative but to pass the examination.

With sheer grit and courage she marched ahead to take the test and finally cleared it.

"When I was three years old, my father died. We were four sisters. My mother had to struggle through poverty and worked at the homes of our neighbours," Smriti told IANS. "Despite my keenness, I had to drop out of the school when I got married in 1996 at the age of 18," she recounted.

"For the past 20 years, I wanted to take the Madhyamik examination, but poverty came in the way," Smriti said.

Smriti's husband, daughter Sagarika and their neighbours have been quite supportive. They encouraged her to shrug off all hesitation and take the examination this year.

"Even though the syllabus has changed since I stopped my studies 20 years ago, I managed to prepare myself with my daughter's help," Smriti said with a smile.

She now plans to get herself admitted in Class Eleven at the Purba Laxmibill Higher Secondary School and would like to be at least a graduate.

When asked, she said that her long-term ambition is to be a post-graduate, though her primary aim is to help her daughters to successfully clear the post-graduation.

But Smriti is not the only one in Tripura.

This year, three other mothers -- Rubi Ghosh, Purnima Das and Sanchita Datta -- have also cleared the board examination along with their son and daughters.

Thirty-five-year-old Rubi, who belongs to Kamalpur in northern Tripura, passed the Madhyamik along with her son Biprajit.

"When I was a student of Class IX, my father arranged my marriage and I had to discontinue my education. For the last 20 years I carried this dream and now it is has been fulfilled," Rubi told IANS.

Similarly, 38-year-old Purnima passed the Madhyamik examination along with her daughter Mananjita from the Badarghat Higher Secondary school near here.

Joining the list is 32-year-old Sanchita. Wife of a mason, Sanchita triumphed in the Madhyamik along with her daughter Munmoon from the Surjyamani Nagar Higher Secondary School on the outskirts of Agartala city.

While Sanchita scored 258 out of 700 marks, Munmoon notched up 490, with 82 marks in Mathematics.

Tripura Board of Secondary Education President Mihir Deb said every year some matured, elderly men and women take the Madhyamik examination. "It's not that they take the examination to find a government job... but to realise their unfulfilled dreams. It's surely heartening," Deb told IANS.

The Madhyamik examination here was conducted by the Tripura Board of Secondary Education in March, and results were declared in early June.

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