Never a pupil, he now eyes a PhD

Never a pupil, he now eyes a PhD

Achiever: One-time shepherd and labourer is an MA and dreams of more

Never a pupil, he now eyes a PhD

Jayaram (35), born into a family of dirt-poor agriculture labourers of Doddatanda near Holebenavalli in the district, toiled in areca plantations as a child labourer or grazed sheep, while children of his age were learning alphabets and numerics. Poverty of the family kept him out of school.

Taunted as an illiterate by his friends and relatives for his illiteracy, Jayaram resolved to study. But, by then, he was 16 and his father died and the boy joined a sugar factory as a daily wage worker. A mechanic at the factory, who noticed Jayaram’s ability to grasp things and learn fast encouraged him to study.

In search of a livelihood, Jayaram moved in Shimoga city and got the job of a waterman at the City Municipal Council. There was a catch, however. He was required to have the minimum qualification of Seventh Standard to be eligible for the job.  It was then that Jayaram’s life took a new turn. The young man took private tuitions with Ganeshappa.

Impressed by Jayaram’s learning prowess, Ganeshappa asked him to appear for the SSLC examination. While students with formal schooling find SSLC a hard mountain to climb, Jayaram cleared the examination in his first attempt in 1993. He was 19 then.

Bharat Lal Meena, then Shimoga ZP CEO honoured Jayaram at the Independence Day programme that year. He was offered job of a cook at BCM hostel. Jayaram then joined DVS Evening College and completed PUC. He would not stop now and passed the certificate programme in food and nutrition from IGNOU in 2006 and MA in Sociology through distance education mode from Karnataka State Open University in 2010.

Thanks to the certificate programme in food and nutrition, Jayaram, as cook displayed rare creativity in managing the kitchen and was able to experiment with new recipes. Recognising his commitment to the job, he was promoted as Superintendent incharge of BCM hostel.

Jayaram, whose success is an inspiration for illiterate and neo-literate feels he has the required skills and abilities to take up greater responsibilities and new challenges at work, if promoted to a higher post.

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