Every school pass-out’s dream is to score a 98 point something or more in the class XIIth board exams; and some even manage to fulfill their dreams. 17 year old Dhavendra Kumar is one such student. Not only did he score a 98.6% in the class XIIth board examination but also came first among the 3.95 lakh students who appeared in the Chattisgarh state board. One would think that he has already laid the foundation for a certain and successful academic and professional journey. However, this wasn’t the case for him. The state board topper was instead welcomed to a grim future and is now found selling vegetables with his mother in the local market of Balod district’s Laundi village.
Since his family has no money, a despondent Dhavendra has had to return with shattered hopes of ever getting into IIT after being rejected admission to the coaching hub of Kota, Rajasthan.
According to him and his family, the Balod district administration had promised him financial help for further studies. The promise is yet to be realized for he hasn’t received any help. Disappointed and disillusioned, Dhavendra said, ‘I think that the government has no respect for toppers.’ His mother equally disappointed said, ‘My son secured 90% in class 10 and is now topper of class 12, but no one is helping us. We have only two acres of land and we cannot afford fees for his coaching where he wants to study.’
Owing to the lack of money, he, instead tried getting admission to the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani; but he was denied admission on the same account.
Dhavendra scored 493 marks out of a total of 500 in the board examination. He got 99 each in both chemistry and mathematics. His lowest score was 93, and that in English.
BR Dhruw, the district education officer was quoted saying, “We have no funds to help him and we have written to the director of social welfare department to help him,’, and called his situation “unfortunate”.
Even though the Chhattisgarh government gives a cash award of 1.1 lakh rupees to felicitate each student on the merit list, the money is disbursed only in September. But it would already be too late for Dhavendra.
It is for us to wonder how many Dhavendra-s our state boards produce every year.
(Written by Eisha Hussain)