The resolve of a young lower caste boy from Maharashtra decades ago to change his reality has resulted in his granddaughter graduating from Oxford, one of the most coveted universities in the world. His heartwarming story is now viral on social media, after it was narrated on LinkedIn by Juhi Kore, his granddaughter who recently completed her Master’s degree in Comparative Social Politics with flying colours from Oxford.
Recounting her grandfather’s childhood, Juhi wrote how he struggled as a lower caste boy from a rural village in Maharashtra to be educated. He was the eldest of four and needed to earn for his family. Despite his parents’ fear that he would be mistreated at school, he made a deal with them that he would work on their farm from 3 am and attend school later in the morning.
“He persevered. Since his farm work didn’t pay in money, only food, he would borrow old books from older similarly ‘outcast’ (scheduled caste) students and study under the village’s only lamp post late into the night. Despite all the bullying from his upper caste peers, discrimination from his upper caste teachers, and not being allowed to sit inside the classroom, his determination and resolve led to him not simply passing his exams, but outranking all his classmates!” Kore wrote on LinkedIn.
It was his school principal who recognised his talent and helped him financially by paying his expenses. Later, he pursued a Bachelor’s in Law in Mumbai while working full-time as a cleaner in a government building. Rising up the ladder, the man retired as a high-level government official in the same building and completed his Master’s at the age of 60.
While announcing her graduation from Oxford, Kore penned an emotional note. “The day I was accepted, I called to let him know and within about 12 hours, every vegetable seller and corner shop worker in his neighbourhood had heard the news. Unfortunately, I lost him just over a year ago, and we weren’t able to realise our shared dream of him attending my Oxford graduation ceremony in person. But I know he was watching over me fondly. In just two generations, he turned his reality of not being allowed to sit inside the classroom to having a granddaughter walk through the halls of the best university in the world. I’m so proud of him and I hope he’s proud of his legacy,” she added.
The story won hearts online and praises poured in the comments section. A user commented, “This story is very much similar of Dr. Ambedkar. Congratulations! I loved the fact that you are wearing an Indian dress for your convocation!”
Another user wrote, “yes this one trait of lifting everyone up in ways more than we can now imagine, is what’s keeping them alive in people’s hearts.”