Prema Jayakumar, daughter of a migrant Autorickshaw driver in Mumbai, secured 607/800 in her CA exams and topped. As a double whammy, her brother Dhanraj too cleared the CA exams at the same time. A proud moment indeed for a family which lived on a meagreincome of 15K pm (though the son also earned some money by working in a call centre and the mother too did her bit by working in a private company).
Reading all the newspaper articles about Prema, once couldn’t help feeling that Prema’s story is a brilliant example of superlative intellect coupled with the grit and determination of the parents. In fact its the latter which probably needs to get even more accolades than Prema’s fabulous achievement. How manyparents of today are willing to make the extreme sacrifices which Prema’s parents would have had to make. To ensure that their children do well in life. To make sure that their children don’t go through the same grind and struggle that they went through in their life. How many banks, NBFC’s and moneylenders they would have visited to borrow money from time to time to meet the needs of the family and to ensure that Prema and Dhanraj dont feel the pinch? Quality education is not cheap and yet the parents did not let availability of funds come in the way of their children’s lives.
I salute Jayakumar Perumal and his wife Lingammal, Prema’s parents for having endured through the toughest of times and for having given their children the best gift that any parent can – the gift of education, and in the process making them completely self reliant.
They deserve to be made role models and showcased to the people of India. To tell the public at large that if Jayakumar and Lingammal can do it, why can’t they ? The only way, and I say it with all honesty, that India can change – be it corruption, be it attitude towards women, be it generic crime on the streets of our cities, or even the overall standard of living – is not by dharnas or protests. It can be done only by improving the basic standard of education in the country. By imparting reasonably good education to the pre-teen children of India, both in rural and urban areas. Thats when our children will grow to be good, well behaved citizens. Jayakumar Perumal and Lingammal have shown us the way. Its for the rest of India to follow.
And to all those who came ahead with cash awards and jobs for Prema – Well she is a CA topper. She doesn’t need your “PR focussed” favours. If she wants to join your organisation and you don’t hire her, you don’t deserve to run the company you do. Period. And for the cash awards – if you are serious about spending the money, spend it on identifying more Prema’s out there and help them fulfil their dreams. Prema in any case has a wonderful future ahead of her, with or without the awards and grants.
Lets make heroes out of Jayakumar and Lingammal. India needs many more like them. This was the thought that crossed my mind when I first read the news article yesterday and hence this becomes my first blogpost ever.