Asit Mandal, Md Akbar Ali, Dipu Roy and Jamiruddin Saikh are all completely blind with meagre source of family income were among the 30 students, selected on the merit-cum-means criterion, for the Priyamvada Birla Scholarship and the Jaswant Singh Lodha Scholarship, disbursed on June 14, 2019. Each of them got scholarship of Rs 24,000 per annum for four years to enable them to complete graduation from a college in West Bengal.
Speaking on the occasion, Harsh V Lodha, Chairman, M P Birla Group, said: “The limited means and severe hardships through which these awardees have come out should teach us not to complaint about trivialities, demands less of others, accept the circumstances, focus and do much more by ourselves. We should shape our own destinies. They have not allowed their minds to be corrupted by the materialistic pleasures of success, but are looking forward to achieving real happiness which comes by serving society in a meaningful manner,”
He further said: “What started out as a small initiative has transformed itself into an occasion of learning for each and every one of us privileged to be here today-to see and experience first-hand real-life histories of the 30 new heroes who will be added to our family of scholarship students. Their individual journey despite all odds shows us that nothing is impossible if pursued with determination, dedication, discipline and hard work.”
Lodha and Anamika Lodha, Trustee, Madhav Prasad Priyamvada Birla Apex Charitable Trust, handed over the scholarships at a simple ceremony.
The Priyamvada Birla Scholarship was introduced by the Madhav Prasad Priyamvada Birla Apex Charitable Trust in 2013 and has been providing scholarship to 25 students. The Jaswant Singh Lodha Scholarship, instituted by the Lodha Charitable Trust, has been providing scholarship to five students since 2018. Both the scholarships are executed by the South Point Education Society and are valid for the entire duration of the selected course (viz. B.A., B.Com, B. Sc, BBA, BCA, LLB, B.E. / B. Tech., MBBS / BDS etc), but not exceeding four years, provided the recipients maintain a certain academic standard. The recipients’ annual family income has to be within Rs 75,000.
At its full strength from 2016-17 onwards, the Priyamvada Birla Scholarship has been supporting 100 aspirants every year in their first, second, third or fourth year of studies.
In its first year the scholarship was awarded to 20 aspirants. Five aspirants each in the first, second, third or fourth year of their undergraduate studies has been supported by the Jaswant Singh Lodha Scholarship.
All the awardees admitted that both the scholarships had given them the opportunity to pursue higher studies. Sharmita Bakchi, who is suffering from a rare disease where her growth is restricted, is studying with English Honours at Durgapur Government College and wants to be a WBCS Officer.
Subrata Pandit from Birbhum, who is visually impaired, is pursuing Bengali Honours at Visva-Bharati, had participated in the para-Olympics and is a member of the Bengal Blind Boys’ Cricket Team. Lincoln Roy, who is studying Zoology at Barasat Government College, had lost his father and his mother is a domestic help. Sourav Banerjee (2013-14) was an orphan and was looked after by Badsha Mir, a friend of his late father. This is a wonderful example of communal harmony. Sourav has now completed his M. Com.
Samsad Hossain (2014-15) has completed M. A. (English). His father has virtually no income. Debasis Jana (2014-15) is 75% blind and his father is a daily worker. He has completed M. A. (History) from Jadavpur University. Mamoni Adhikary (2015-16) is pursuing M.A. (English) from Taki Govt College presently. Her mother, a widow, is a biri maker. Manowar Hossain (2016-17) is in the final year of B.A. (English Hons). His father has virtually no income. Simarul Halsona (2017-18) is in the second year of B.A. (Bengali Hons) at Jadavpur University. He is 100% blind.
The above, indeed, serves as a tribute to the visionaries who had reposed their trust in education as a life-changing enabler.
More than 500 students of South Point High School and M P Birla Foundation Higher Secondary School as well as members of the staff witnessed the ceremony.