Giridih/Kolkata: As soon as the result of Bihar School Examination Board was declared, the news of Ganesh Kumar (originally from Giridih) topping in Arts examination made it to the headlines. Needless to say, it took many by surprise.
Making the news even better, was the fact that Kumar a daily wage worker, had hit it big in the Bihar School Examinations. The topper, who had shifted to Samastipur after his father’s death was making the perfect narrative for a top human story.
Attending funeral, not absconding
Ganesh cleared both secondary and senior secondary examinations in 2015 and 2017 respectively. The fact that he had topped in the latter was a commendable feat indeed. But as he had secured 65 out of total 70 marks in Music, it soon became a subject of curiosity for many.
When the result had announced, Ganesh was neither in Samastipur nor in Giridih. He had gone to Murshidabad, West Bengal on May 23 itself to attend his uncle’s funeral. However, his unavailability around that time made many link the controversy with him and declared him as absconding. On his return, media was ready with its trial – How did Kumar score 82 percent in Music?
A well-tailored defence?
Hours before his arrest, Kumar, spoke to eNewsroom, and stated, “I appeared for the examination to clear it, and not to top. It is not my fault that the examiner gave me 82 percent mark in Music. It is also not my fault, I had myself enrolled in an average school.”
On being asked why he wasn’t receiving calls, he said, “I had gone for my uncle’s funeral. I was not absconding. To, be precise, I had gone to Murshidabad much before the result was declared.”
However, on being questioned, why appear for the board examination again? Hadn’t he cleared it way back in 1992? He was seen defending himself. Ganesh said, “I was doing odd jobs. My friends told me to get admitted and appear for the examinations, so I appeared. Was it wrong to get enrolled again in hope of getting a better future.”
A visibly frustrated Ganesh kept asking, “Now, I do not want to talk about this issue. Since I have returned from my uncle’s funeral, everybody is catching hold of me and questioning. No poor will dare to get educated if this type of issues is raised? Is is a crime for an aged person to study, tell me?”
Why appear for an exam twice?
But why appear for the same examination again? To that, he maintained that he did so to reduce his age so that he could apply for a decent government job. Post this he excused himself and disconnected the call.
Later in the evening, the news of him getting arrested made it to the headlines, making many presume that he had been made a scapegoat by the board officials.
For his arresting, the main reason cited was that Ganesh hid his age. Ganesh is 42-year-old and not 24, and is a father of two kids. Ganesh, who had crossed the maximum age limit of appearing for government jobs examinations, did hide his age, which indeed is an offence, but how much could he be blamed?
Not many private jobs opportunities in Bihar and Ganesh was having to do odd jobs. And he saw this as a way out. However, what also needs to be probed is – if there are people like Ganesh, who are flouting rules, then there are people in the system who is allowing them to do so. Kumar’s case is a clear indicator of how loopholes, often flouted by the society and the system come into the picture, when something exceptional happens, thereby opening up a huge debate.