Kalyan Bigaha (Bihar):
An 11-year-old boy stole the spotlight in the ancestral village of Kalyan Bigaha in the Nalanda district of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday by attracting the attention of the visiting dignitary amid a large crowd, seeking support for his education.
The Chief Minister was in Kalyan Bigaha on the death anniversary of his wife Manju Sinha, whose statue he slung in a park named after his father Kaviraj Ramlakhan Singh.
Walking through a barricaded path, he waved at people and accepted petitions from those seeking to bring their grievances to his attention when the boy, who lives in a nearby village under the same Harnaut block as Kalyan Bigaha, called out to him with folded hands.
“Sir, I need your support for my education. My father is not helping me,” cried Sonu Kumar.
The Chief Minister then ordered the officials accompanying him to listen to the child.
Vaibhav Srivastava, the deputy development commissioner acting as district collector, heard the story of the child, accompanied by a village elder who vouched for the boy’s “meritoriousness”.
“I study at a government school. Education standards are pathetic. My math teacher has a problem with numbers and can’t speak basic English,” Sonu said.
The boy said he aspires to work for the government, but his family’s poor education and apathy got in the way.
“My father sells dairy products for a living. But he doesn’t care about my education. Whatever he earns, he wastes on booze and grog,” the child claimed, which could be an embarrassment to the Chief Minister’s much-lauded injunction. †
The boy, who is in grade 6, said he was already teaching his juniors to support himself.
People on social media criticized what they believed to be the dire state of primary education in Bihar, while some expressed hope that the boy would be given a chance to realize his potential.