It was in the year 2010 when the new scholarship scheme was launched by our honourable Chief Minister which, later, would go on to become a turning point in the lives of thousands of students. The scholarship was meant for those who had scored the highest percentage throughout the year in class V exams. I studied in Government Junior High School, Swayem, North Sikkim. Initially I was not that much into academics. Though I scored better marks than others, but I was never serious about continuing my education after 5th. I was planning to join the sangha or what we call sheda in Bhutia language for which I had a word with my grandfather. He told me to first complete my elementary education and after that only he will contemplate over getting me admitted in sheda.
Asluck would have it, I managed to come first in the Class V exams and I was told that I had to appear for some scholarship exam. So for the next one month or two I was preoccupied by the thought of giving scholarship exam. I knew I had to appear for the exam but I didn’t know when the exam would be held. So I just wasted my winter holidays, sitting at home, cutting grasses, rearing cattle and so on. It was somewhere in the month of January 2011 when, as usual I was sharpening my hasya (sickle) to cut grasses, my father came to me and told me to get ready as I was to give my scholarship exam. I was quite tensed as I had not studied anything but I had in my mind what was taught in class V and moreover I was pretty good in General Knowledge. As, again, luck would have it, I managed to get through the exams and came 9th in all over Sikkim. The Scholarship scheme required the Top 21 students to choose schools outside the state. We were given number of schools to choose from for e.g. The Pinegrove School, The Scindia School, Scindia Kanya Vidyalya etc. I didn’t have any idea about these schools. I had one of my teacher, Mr Mingma Sherpa (to whom I will be eternally indebted) accompanying me who advised me to opt for The Scindia School, Gwalior. Initially I was reluctant to go for Scindia as I wasn’t sure of myself getting acclimatised to the weather conditions of Central India. Finally, I opted for The Scindia School, Gwalior, which was, later, going to be the best decision I ever made.
Scindia school was heaven for us. Everything was just perfect. Infrastructure, academics, facilities and teachers. There I met some people whom I will probably never forget till my last breath. We were provided with the best facilities available at the time and that also for free, because our state government bore the brunt of paying the fees for us. We had everything we could ask for at our disposal. At first when I went to Scindia, I didn’t know how to speak in either Hindi or English, and was very withdrawn to myself, reluctant to socialise with other people. But today, If you ever come to Kirorimal College and ask about Chopel Bhutia, I guarantee you that 70% of the students will be able to recognize me. That’s all because of Scindia, it taught me to be confident, to be humble and, most importantly, to socialise with people. In Scindia I was sharing my room with the sons of crorepatis for whom 1 crore would mean nothing. Scindia never gave me the chance to get disappointed over the fact that my father didn’t earn the same amount as my friends’ parents did. My friends never discriminated me for being a son of a farmer whose yearly income would merely sum up to their parent’s weekly income. And because of this, today, I never hesitate to have a conversation with people, whether rich or poor.
I am so grateful to The Scindia School for shaping my personality, for making mewhat I am today. All of this wouldn’thave been possible without the vision of our Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling who had that genuine concern for underprivileged people like us. I would say that the HCMMSS took me on a ride of paradise, experiencing things which I, probably, could have never afford had it been from my parent’s pocket. Who would have thought that a son of an ordinary farmer who had the desire to join the sheda (sangha) would go on to study in one of the premier schools in the country. Had I stayed in Sikkim, I don’t know what would have become of me, I probably wouldn’t have scored 95.75% in my class 12th board exams. I am so grateful to our Chief Minister and all the concerned authorities that I am running short of words for expressing my gratitude. I want to assure you all that your efforts won’t go wasted, I promise that I will try my level best to make true your expectations.
I just want to conclude by saying that the HCMMSS is the best thing that couldhave happened in the lives of thousands of students like me. I sincerely hope that our Government will work harder and initiate more scholarship schemes like this and turn Sikkim into a driver of educational growth in India.
(Editor’s Note: This is our fourth article in the series. In this series we are trying to bring out write ups contributed by the meritorious recipients of Chief Minister’s Meritorious Scholarship Scheme. This is a scheme envisioned by Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to sponsor meritorious students completing their primary level education from Government Schools to pursue their further studies from reputed boarding schools, both within and outside the state.)
More in the Series: