AN AWE-INSPIRING STORY
“Education is the most important factor for the development of human civilization. Education provides the nation with man powers, promotes national unity and uplifts public awareness. A country needs different kinds of man powers such as doctors, engineers, teachers, administrative officials, economists, judges and other technical hands. Education provides the nation with those educated hands. If people are educated, they can understand their duties and rights. In order to uplift human society, each should be capable to understand others. If people can understand each other, they will be united. Thus, education can promote national unity. In other to uplift, the degree of awareness of the society, education plays a prime role. It makes all people conscious. They will not follow the old dead and evil tradition. Educated people can reform the society. They can understand what is wrong and what is right. They can save good traditions. Education profoundly enhances human prosperity” - NELSON MANDELA
People who have worked hard to get where they are or what they want to be, their stories never stopped inspiring, to write about them. This duo, mother and daughter, who cracked TNPSC, (Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission) exams this week, got Government jobs, is the most inspiring stories, that I have come across in the recent times. Santhi Lakshmi-mother, had always dreamed of higher education and a career. Four years ago, she began preparing for the exam with her daughter-Thenmozhi.
Education-to educate oneself, where age, personal difficulties, struggles, don’t matter when your target, goal is fixed and one strives hard towards it, to achieve it, despite all odds is very motivating and makes the story itself a seldom happening/event. For almost four years, this mother-daughter due have been preparing together for the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) exams. Now, 47-year old, Santhi Lakshmi and her daughter Thenmozhi, finally have all the reasons to celebrate as they have cleared the exams and have both received State Government jobs.
Hailing from a small village near Theni, in Madurai, Santhi Lakshmi was only 15 years old when she got married. Barely out of class 10, she focused on adjusting to family life and supporting her husband, who was a farmer. However, her dreams of pursuing higher education remained deep inside her heart, as an unrequited dream. She said, “I have always wanted to study, ever since childhood. Circumstances made me get married and start a family. But my wish was always there. After marriage, I did work towards my dream, but the process was slow”.
After six years of marriage, she passed her class 12thexams, following which she enrolled in typewriting course and completed both the lower and higher levels. She took a small gap after that and started her BA (Tamizh/Tamil) and graduated in 2010. Exactly four years later, she suffered a personal loss after her husband died of a brief illness. A mother of three girls, Santhi Lakshmi eventually moved on with her life. She and her daughter Thenmozhi are currently pursuing postgraduate degrees in Tamizh/Tamil, through correspondence courses from Madurai Kamaraj University.
But this was not Santhi Lakshmi’s first attempt at the TNPSC exams. She has been a regular face at the TNPSC centre in Theni since 2012 and had cleared the exam three times before. But each time, she was thwarted at the counselling level since there were no vacancies.
In 2015, Thenmozhi, now 28, finished her undergraduate degree and started preparing for the TNPSC at Thinai Payirchi Pattarai, a coaching centre with free classes in Theni. She said, “My mom also used to come to classes with me. Since my grandparents were staying with us, amma could join the classonly by 12 noon and had to leave by 3 pm, since my sister needed individual care. So I used to fill her in, on missed classes when I came back home”.
At night, after the family had wound up for the day, Thenmozhi would narrate what was taught in class to her mother like a story. The next day morning, when Santhi Lakshmi and Thenmozhi would have their tea, the mother would narrate the lesson back to the daughter.
Santhi Lakshmi, has also always pushed her girls to study. “Never has she said one word against educating us. She has always encouraged us to work for our studies”, Thenmozhi said. She further added that one sister is pursuing a B.Sc. Maths, while the youngest sister is studying in Class 2.
And for Santhi Lakshmi, she said, her own parents have been a constant “pillar of support”. “otherwise how do you think I can manage three girls at home and still study and work for my dreams? I love Tamil and that is why I chose to pursue my higher studies in it. I want to complete M.Phil. and Ph.D. and become a Tamil Professor”, she said.
On this Monday, Santhi Lakshmi started her new job at the Tamil Nadu Health Department and will move to Veerapandi in Theni district soon. While Thenmozhi is still awaiting her posting location in the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.
“Your education should be an education of the heart and the spirit and of the spirit as much of the brain; it should be a living connection between yourselves and your past as well as the modern world!” – SISTER NIVEDITA
“ITS TRUE THAT THE THIRST FOR EDUCATION, HARD WORK, DEFINITIVE GOALS, HAVE NEVER FAILED, THIS MOTHER-DAUGHTER DUO ARE A CLASSIC EXAMPLE TO HAVE PROVEN THE FACT” …...
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.