Mohammad Naki of Bijnor, had passed intermediate in 1972 as a humanities student when he was just 17.
Fifty years later, this 67-year-old man cleared his intermediate exams again– this time in the science stream–because he wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a pharmacist.
“I was unable to pursue further education and had to start working early because family responsibilities came in the way,” he told reporters.
Naki has scored 72 per cent marks, which is even more that what his two granddaughters, Muskan(17) and Suhana (15) have got in their class 12 and class 10 exams respectively.
“My family was not financially sound. After taking intermediate exams in the arts stream, I cleared some Urdu exams that were ‘equivalent’ to graduation and started working as a clerk at an inter-college in my native village. I worked there for around 10 years but my salary was very low. I had to eventually resign,” he said.
After resigning, Naki bought nine bighas of agricultural land and started growing flower crops. He used the flowers to work as a decorator. He later also set up an ayurveda practice.
“My interest in ayurveda grew and I eventually started a small practice in Gurugram, where my son worked as a supplier of electrical goods. However, there was a raid on my street by health authorities and I was told I could not pursue the practice without a degree. I then went back to my village and met Neha Khan, a teacher at a local school, who guided me. She told me that I needed to secure a degree in naturopathy to become a hakeem. I therefore moved to Banda district and got a four-year diploma in natural yogic science,” he said.
After acquiring the diploma, Naki decided to study further and become a pharmacist. However, when he visited an Amroha-based pharmacy college, he was told that he needed to clear intermediate exams in the science stream, not humanities, to enrol.
“This is when I decided to clear the tests again,” he said.
Naki said he was “publicly ridiculed” when he appeared for his exams at Bijnor’s Kelanpur inter-college this year.
“Students laughed at me and asked me what such an old person like me was doing there. But not everyone was negative. Some police personnel clicked my pictures and told me they would show it to their children to inspire them,” he said.
He further said that his mother, 100-year-old Aneesa, was ‘overjoyed’ after learning about his results.
“She showered me with her blessings and some money,” he said.