Thursday, 24 April 2014


Vishnupriya ... I have known her since she was three 

- extremely bright, very very hard working, very helpful to other children ... star through her government school, Kothapeta. Joined a diploma, after her 10th, hoping to do an engg after that somehow.

Tide turned as she struggled with her diploma - the shift from Telugu medium to English medium was very very difficult. In the diploma course most children were from english medium schools, while she struggled with her telugu medium background. Her star status fell. Her teachers saw her parents - illiterate, dalits, and looked down on her. She was friendless there ... At home her brother committed suicide. Her father became very ill and 30,000/- was needed. Her mother had to sell her dryland and went deep into debt. Vishnu was very depressed and lost much enthusiasm.

But she has struggled thro' it all.

She very badly wants to take her engineering exams - but she says the diploma training is very hard, and she return from the workshop at 10 at night, dead tired. She said that the food there is limited, and insufficent. I told her to study till midnight daily if needed on an empty stomach... that it is only in her hands. She agreed.

 Then she managed to clear her Engineering entrance exam 
and managed a rank of 3000. Because of the reservation quota she will get a seat. She deserves that reservation.

She comes and askes me, 'Madam I feel scared on engineering now ... I am scared of the colleges ...".

She tells me that daily she studies upto 3 am because she does not follow the English texts at all, and has to simply mug them up. In her first sem she got 60%, and in the next 70%.

Vishnupriya came to Madras to spend a few days for her vacation. After her vernacular school she struggled thro' her English medium diploma, and is now struggling even harder thro her engineering. She cannot understand the English books at all and is up till 3am every night trying to blindly mug up the texts. 

This is a computer a friend got her, and which she is happy to have. In this drought her family has moved to Tirupathi, where her father is a conservancy worker with Sulabh, and her mother works in a house. After her brother's suicide, the whole expectation of her family is on her.

Dalit, poor, illiterate parents, Telugu medium educated ... case enough for sustaining reservations ? And adding reservations in all private companies as well. And for all children like her who have studied in the vernaculars. After all we are not yet under English rule.

1 comment:

  1. This is the reality of deprived social classes. All the best Vishnupriya. With your permission I will share your story with my students.