The Hush Post|1:40 pm|one-minute-read| In a freaky story of inspiration, a 105-year-old woman from Kerala appeared for the fourth standard equivalency examination carried out by the state literacy mission.
Bhageerathi Amma, who always wanted to study, had to give up her dream of educating herself after her mother passed away. Those were the times when she had to carry the responsibility of her younger siblings.
Fate dealt her another blow when she lost her husband in her 30s following which the entire responsibility of bringing up her six children.
As she took up the fourth standard examination at her home in Kollam, about 70 km from here, Bhageerathi Amma became the oldest ‘equivalency learner’ in the Kerala State Literacy Mission programme to date, Mission Director, PS Srikala said.
Mission’s resource person Vasanth Kumar said that since Bhageerathi Amma had difficulty in writing, she took three days to complete the three question papers on environment, maths and Malayalam and was helped by her youngest daughter.
Even at this age, she has a sharp memory, has no problems relating to eyesight and sings well, Kumar said. He added that Amma was very happy to appear for the examination and excited as she had left her formal education at the age of nine when she was in Class 3.
One of her six children and three of her 15 grandchildren are no more. The woman has 12 grand and great-grandchildren.
Bhageerathi Amma has one grievance that she had not yet received either widow or old-age pension as she has no Aadhaar card and was hoping that authorities would take steps to ensure that she gets the pension.
Last year, 96-year-old Karthiyayani Amma had secured high marks in a literacy examination held in the state.
She was the oldest candidate who appeared for the ‘Aksharalaksham’, a flagship programme of the state-run Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority, and scored 98 marks out of 100.
A native of Cheppad village of Haripad in Alappuzha district, the nonagenarian had received an ‘Aksharalaksham certificate’ from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as a token of recognition for her achievement.