'Skype' helps octogenarian secure MA in Sanskrit

Woman of substance

'Skype' helps octogenarian secure MA in Sanskrit

It is rare to see a person born in 1933 use computers; let alone be accustomed to the fine details of video calling through the Internet. T P Shantha Bai, however, is not any average octogenarian.

The oldest woman to receive a degree at the 13th convocation of Karnataka State Open University, her words displayed her insatiable thirst for knowledge and eagerness to continue studies.

Bai was awarded MA in Sanskrit, after she passed the examination by scoring 62 per cent. She said she studied with the help of Skype - a popular proprietary voice over Internet Protocol software.

“I started studying the basics of Sanskrit to teach my granddaughter Shashirekha, who was finding the subject difficult.

“After that, interest in the subject grew and I wrote examinations for a few certificate courses in Sanskrit. But, I had not planned to do my MA,” she said.

Her friends, who are almost half her age, was motivated Bai to take up the examination.
However, meeting her friends to discuss topics for the examination on a daily basis was not easy.

“My great-grandson Raghunandan taught me to operate Skype. My friends Haripriya, 45, and Jayashree, 36, used to log onto Skype at the same time and we studied for one to two hours daily, prior to the examination,” she said.

Bai got her BSc degree from the University of Mysore in 1952 and BEd from Osmania University, Hyderabad, in 1953.

“After that I served as a high school teacher for several years, before completing my postgraduation in Mathematics from Benares Hindu University in 1963,” she said.
Apart from these, the octogenarian has completed two certificate courses in French.
When enquired about the secret of her health, she said it remains good when people dedicate time to study.

She said she had served as a teacher, lecturer, education officer, deputy director and joint director in the department of public instruction, prior to her retirement.
“I will do Vidwath Uttama in Alankara course in Sanskrit next,” the woman said.

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