From a background where her father – a butcher by profession and a middle school drop-out, and her mother a primary school drop-out, -Noorjan who had quit her studies briefly to support a family, has come a long way, thanks to her passion for studies and her parents strong backing, to top in her masters.
Her five siblings have gone through education with a yawn. They are not to blame; their circumstances were such. But Noorjan A R rose above all that. On Tuesday, Noorjan will rewrite her family’s history when she picks up six gold medals as postgraduate topper in Chemistry at the 49th convocation of Bangalore University.
Noorjan’s has been a long and arduous journey, but not a solitary one. Hailing from a remote town — Bagepalli — about 90 km from Bangalore, Noorjan’s father is a butcher. Despite his meagre earnings from the mutton shop, he made sure Noorjan never lacked the resources to chase her dreams. But an even greater gift the head of the conservative family gave her was freedom to make her choices and his unstinting support.
Given her family’s circumstances, Noorjan didn’t start out dreaming big. She says she passed Class X with a first class and then took up II PU (Science). Instead of thinking of higher studies, she decided to take a short cut and do a D Ed (Diploma in Education) so that she could support her family. But luck eluded her as she couldn’t get a job of her choice. Keen to help out, she worked as a teacher for a few years but realised the calling of higher studies was too strong to ignore. So she went back to her parents to tell them she wanted to join a college and do a BSc in Chemistry.
“I was really scared to speak to my father as I didn’t know what his reaction would be. My father works in a mutton shop and my mother is a homemaker. I was surprised when my father told me he would even take loans, but I should pursue my academic goals,” says Noorjan.
Coming from someone with a conservative background, Noorjan says it motivated her. She enrolled for a BSc course in her town. “The three-year course redefined my attitude as I came second in the state in Chemistry. My dreams got wings. Now, I wanted to pursue a postgraduation,” she says. But this would mean travelling to Bangalore and she was once again besieged by fears about her parents’ reaction. However, they stood rock-solid behind her decision. This was also the time she decided to start paying for her education by giving tuitions.
“Every day, I would get up early to take the bus to reach Bangalore University and come back home late. The two-three hours’ journey was definitely tiring but my passion kept me going.” Seeing her struggle, her teachers suggested she take up accommodation at the hostel as it would save time. Apprehensions came flooding back as Noorjan wondered if her parents would ever agree to such an idea. “But they had full confidence in me and finally I joined the hostel. However, during study holidays, I would go back to my town where a school used to give me one month’s work.” The chemistry classes gave her a chance to infuse her love for the subject among students in her home town. “It was a refreshing experience,” she says. Noorjan’s years of hard work have finally paid off with summa cum laude results. “I worked really hard but never expected to score first,” she says.
Her lecturer Dr Mohammed Afzal Pasha, HoD, Chemistry department at the varsity, lauds her as a “really bright student.” “Despite travelling so much and coming from an underprivileged background, she managed to get good marks.”
Her father Abdul Rafiq said, “I could not study much and became a daily wage labourer, while my other kids did not fare well in studies either. I was glad Noorjan was very interested in studies. I have told her come what may, she should pursue her dream.” Noorjan’s mother Shakila takes special pride in her daughter. “I am very happy that my daughter has done her post-graduation and secured first place, which is the highest academic achievement in my family by a long distance.”
Noorjan now dreams of pursuing a PhD and hopes to continue her researching Chemistry.
The Toppers List:
*Shruthi DL, PG in Physics; 7 gold medals
*Noorjan AR, PG in Chemistry; 6 gold medals and 3 cash prizes
*Rajendra Bhat, PG in Sanskrit; 5 gold medals and 2 cash prizes
*Mohitha SM, BE, civil engineering, UVCE, 5 gold medals and 5 cash prizes
*Aishwarya NA, BCom, MLA First Grade College; 5 gold medals and 3 cash prizes
*Sowmya P Rao, BE, mechanical engineering, UVCE; 4 gold medals and 2 cash prizes
*Chaitra N, BSc, Government Women’s College; 3 gold medals and 4 cash prizes
*Rashmi S Baliga, BEd, New Horizon College; 3 gold medals and 3 cash prizes
Source: Bangalore Mirror