She cycled 24 km to school and back every day. And it finally paid off. Roshni Bhadouriya (15), a girl from a village in MP’s Bhind district has scored 98.5% in the state board Class 10 exams. She is eighth on the merit list.

The 15-year-old lives in Ajnol, a village of about 1,200 people, and would cycle to school to Mehgaon town, 12 km away. She braved the scorching summer and the rains to reach her school. In fact, there were days when because of rains she couldn’t return home as the village roads were flooded. “I’d have to spend the night at the house of my relative. Sometimes, it would be days before I could get back home,” she said.

Roshni’s father, Purushottam Bhadouriya, a 36-year-old farmer, was bursting with pride when TOI called her on Saturday, after the results were declared. “All my children are good students, but this girl has made everyone proud. No one in these parts has ever scored such high marks,” he said.

Asked about her plans, he said: “Of course I want her to continue studying. I want to see her get big degrees and work in big firms in big cities.”

Roshni wants to become collector

And what does Roshni think of the future? “I want to join the IAS. I want to be a collector,” she said. “I am told that a collector can do a lot of good work. I don’t know much about it, but I’d like to be a collector and bring change,” she added.

Roshini scored perfect 100s in mathematics and science. “I was always attentive in class and focused on writing exactly what I had learnt. I am thrilled to get such high marks,” she said. Maths and English in which she scored an impressive 96 are her favourite subjects, she said. “I want to clear the IAS exam so my father and I have decided to opt for mathematics in Class 11,” she told TOI.

Asked if she would cycle to school when it reopens, she replied: “Of course. I’m not going to miss school.” Purushottam owns 4 acres of land. It’s hard for him to keep three children in school but the thought of stopping Roshni’s education never crossed his mind.

His elder son is in Class 12 and his youngest son is in Class 4. “It is tough with three children in today’s world, but I will not let my family have any problem,” he said. “Besides, my kids are tough too.” A relative in Mehgaon agreed to take her in for the monsoon months.

Roshni’s achievement and her family’s support are all the more remarkable considering that Bhind has a high dropout rate, especially among girls, a sex ratio of just 837 girls per 1,000 boys in rural areas (2011 Census), and a female literacy rate of 64%. What drove Roshni on was that her mother Sarita Devi (34) completed Class 12 at a time when the female literacy rate was only around 55% in Bhind.

Her father, too, is a graduate. Both parents wish they had been able to study further. “We want our children to study all they want,” Purushottam said.


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