“My dreams gave me the energy to go forward. My parents are proud of me now, but there was a time when they weren’t and it wasn’t easy,” says Ummul. (Photo: News18)
New Delhi: Sixteen fractures, eight surgeries, teaching five batches of fifteen students in one day and no family support — the story of Ummul Kher, who cleared the Union Public Services Commission exam recently, is not an ordinary one.
“My success is not about me against my family. It is in fact about the larger problems ailing the society — the way semi-literate and illiterate people who pull rickshaws or mend shoes perceive college as; they have a very misogynistic and distorted view,” she tells News18, adding that she’d be meeting her parents very soon.
“My dreams gave me the energy to go forward. My parents are proud of me now, but there was a time when they weren’t and it wasn’t easy,” says Ummul.
Years after they threw withdrew all support to her education, her parents in Rajasthan are now ecstatic about her success.
“The word college has been demonised because of the influence of popular culture on the minds of semi-literate people. They see colleges as a medium of merry making,” she says, adding that her own stint as a teacher cemented her view.
To be able to pay her rent and tuition, she was a tutor to almost 75 students every day, which is where she saw young girls afraid of pursuing higher education. “For a girl to say she wants to pursue higher education, it means that she has to explain why she is doing what she is doing.”
“There are girls who have a hard timing convincing their parents that going to college doesn’t mean being spoiled. I’m going to work towards education. My own life changed after getting admitted to Jawahar Lal Nehru University. They provided me with accommodation, food and I only had to concentrate on my academics,” she says.
“It’s disheartening to see people not prosper because of not being allowed to go to college. The notion of higher education in the society needs to change,” she adds.