Class XII rank-holder has decided what to do -- Discontinue studies


MADURAI, JUNE 1: When cameras and reporters search for him, G Veerapandyan is far away from school. The look-out ends in the evening, at a restaurant which sells just parotta and mutton curry. The second rank holder in Geography in the Tamil Nadu Class XII exams with 197 out of 200, Veerapandyan is the `parantha master', who makes paranthas, in this Madurai shop.

After a day's search, when this newspaper finally reached him, Veerapandyan was already busy with his part-time job.

With a first class in Class X and a State rank in XII, what is Veerapandian planning to do? Discontinue studies and become a full-time `parotta' master. Well, he does not have a choice. But he still dreams of doing law and later becoming an IAS officer.

He belongs to a poor Dalit family of five. His father R Ganesan sells vessels along the street and they live in the slums of SMP Colony in Annanagar. His mother Perumalakka was a sweeper in the Aravind Eye Hospital, his younger brother works in an advertisement agency as an office boy. The only daughter in the family is in Class X.

Veerapandian earns Rs 30 per day for his part-time job in the makeshift restaurant and helps his father run the household. He has experiences of being sent out of school for more than a month for not paying the tuition fee. He pulled along thanks to DMK Councillor Subbulakshmi and Aravind Eye Hospital. They sponsored his books and provided tuition fee for him.

The driving force behind Veerapandian is his geography teacher Anbuselvan who identified six poor students in Class XII and trained them. All of them did well in the exams.

"My parents are illiterate and can hardly understand anything in my books. My father earns just enough for the daily food. My brother and I contribute for the other expenditure. Even the loss of a day's income affects our life and things worsen when one earning member of the family falls sick," Veerapandyan says.

As he turns around a parotta on the frying pan, he asks: "Will the Chief Minister help me continue my studies?"

Copyright 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd

HRD ministry will fund Veerapandyan's studies


NEW DELHI, JUNE 2: In a quick response to the story of a rank-holding student being driven to a petty job on a kerb-side eatery, Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has sanctioned Rs 10,000 from his discretionary fund, as well as a scholarship from the Ministry.

This story of G Veerapandyan, a Tamil Nadu Class XII topper, was published in The Indian Express on June 1.

Veerapandyan, a second rank holder in Geography in Tamil Nadu Class-XII exams who scored 197 out of 200, makes paranthas in a Madurai shop for Rs 30 a day.

Veerapandyan, who had dreams of becoming a IAS officer, told Express that he would discontinue his studies for a full-time job. Born in a poor Dalit family with roving utensil seller for a father, he could not support the high costs of a college education.

But things might improve for Veerapandyan. The HRD Minister before leaving for his trip to New York for the special session of the UN issued the order which can help Veerapandyan go back to his books.

"Apart from the immediate grant of Rs 10,000 for his discretionary fund, which is the biggest ever amount donated to an individual's cause, the Ministry will also provide with a scholarship to continue his studies," D K Kotia, private secretary to the HRD Minister said.

The HRD Ministry has also got in touch with the District Magistrate of Madurai to get details of Veerapandyan's family and academic achievements to work out a further incentive programme.

Copyright 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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