Monday, January 20, 2014

Short story on caste bias, discrimination with poor students in educational institutions

This is the English translation of Ratna Kumar Sambharia's short-story 'Dronacharya Zinda HaiN'. For those who aren't aware of the background, Dronacharya taught royal family's children [in the epic, Mahabharata].

When he saw that a tribal youth Eklavya had better archery skills than his favourite disciple, Arjuna, then Dronacharya asked Eklavya to severe his thumb and give it away in guru-dakshina, so that Arjun remained the best warrior in the world.

Dronacharya had also refused to teach Karna, as the latter didn't belong to the high caste. Incidents of students coming suicides in top education institutions due to caste bias are quite common even today.

Read the story here:

The examination was over and the teacher had just compiled the result. Now, while preparing the merit list, he was looking at the result-sheet when he suddenly got a jolt.

“Ramdin, the son of a mochi (cobbler), is the topper, has got more numbers than anyone else, even ahead of my own son”. “Everyone in the village would spit on my face that the boy [mochi’s son] is more intelligent even though his father mends the shoes”. The Master sahib was really upset.

Furious, he got to his feet and rushed to the other side of the room. He unlocked the almirah and took out the stacks of answer-sheets. One after the other, each stack was opened. One answer-sheet was taken out from each stack and kept aside.

The selected answer-sheets were now placed in a corner of the table. Master sahib, took out his specs, cleaned the glasses and began re-evaluating Ramdin’s answer-sheets. Ample changes were made and the answer-sheets were again placed in the stacks and shut in the almirah.

A new result sheet had been prepared. After failing in the examin, Ramdin had taken up his ancestral work at his father’s shop.

[The story 'Dronacharya zinda hain' or 'Dronacharyas are alive' was originally written in Hindi] Photo courtesy: Yoga With Invention at