Parents in jail, kids come up trumps
By Express News Service - BHUBANESWAR
29th June 2012 12:00 PM
Bighnaraj Bag hardly remembers his childhood. Or maybe, he does not want to recall much of it. He was barely four when his father was arrested on the charge of murder along with his entire paternal family. Two years later, his mother left him to re-marry.
In care of his grandmother, who was in her 70s, Bighnaraj was left to fend for himself. As a little boy, he shepherded cattle in his village, Khudukupada, under Patnagarh block’s Kendumundi.
Now, he stands away from a life that would have taken him to obscurity. On Thursday, when the High School Certificate (HSC) results were announced, he had a big smile on his face. Bighnaraj scored 71 per cent.
Nine years ago, the Balangir Jail Superintendent had handed him over to Madhurmayee Adarsh Siksha Niketan, a hostel for convicts’ children, here in Laxmi Sagar. The hostel has 28 girls and 22 boys as its inmates. It was here that Bighnaraj dared to dream big and now hopes to study science and become a doctor.
The road ahead for the 16-year-old Bighnaraj is long, but he himself has come a long way. There were days when he worked as a domestic help in Balangir and some people even took him to Jharkhand before he was brought back to his village. “I had no one to look forward to for help. Wherever I was taken, I went along,” he said.
In November, 2003 when he was brought to the hostel, Bighnaraj had never gone to a school. “He was a keen learner and very hardworking. He never complained,” the supervisor of the hostel, Niroja Laxmi Mohapatra, said. Bighnaraj was admitted to Capital High School where he did well academically. He even took up Judo and participated in national championships.
The HSC results have brought to the fore more such young champions of life. Manas Ranjan Sahoo is another inmate of the hostel run by Odisha Patita Udhar Samiti. A native of Bagdega in Sundargarh’s Bisra, his father was jailed over a land dispute while his mother was too sick to support him.
Sahoo, who secured 68 per cent in the HSC, was admitted to an orphanage, but fled. He worked as a domestic help for a year or two before the Special Jail Superintendent of Rourkela brought him to the hostel, where he was introduced to formal education.
The hostel has four inmates who appeared for the annual HSC. All of them cleared the test __ the two others being Sarbashree Suryasnata and Lily Samal, all children of convict parents. “I just hope they get some organisations to sponsors their studies,” Niroja Laxmi said.
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