Even at the age of 97, Patna’s Raj Kumar Vaishya is still keen to fulfill his dream of acquiring a post-graduation degree.
While appearing for MA exams from Nalanda Open University (NOU), Vaishya proved the adage that it’s never too late to learn and grow.
In his exams, Vaishya wrote in English and used 23 sheets in his MA Economics part one exam, an NOU official said.
Despite prevailing heat conditions, he sat for three hours in the examination centre like the others, most of them younger than his grand-children.
Vaishya had enrolled last year for an MA in economics for two reasons: to fulfil his long nurtured desire to get a Masters degree and to study economics to be able to understand why India has failed to solve problems like poverty, illiteracy and joblessness.
Now I am a step closer to fulfilling my dream, Vaishya had said.
Born on April 1, 1920, in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly town, Mr Vaishya retired in 1980 as a general manager in a private firm in Koderma (now in Jharkhand).
Living with his second son and daughter-in-law in the posh Rajendra Nagar colony in Patna for the last 10 years after his wife’s death, Vaishya said the academic atmosphere in the house helped him make up his mind to study further.
His son Santosh Kumar, now in his early 70s, retired from the National Institute of Technology, Patna, whereas daughter-in-law Bharti S. Kumar, in her early 60s, retired as a professor from Patna University.
Vaishya said his family supported him in pursuing further studies as his son teaches him mathematics and statistics.
However, after post-graduation, Vaishya will not pursue a Ph.D.
According to university officials, Vaishya’s zeal was admirable and his initiative sent out a positive message in society, particularly among senior citizens.
Vaishya loves reading books, newspapers, and magazines and is fond of TV serials like “Jodha Akbar”, “Razia Sultan” and “Maharana Pratap.” He can still read without spectacles and write fluently in Hindi and English with a steady hand.