It’s celebrations at the walled city Shahjahanabadi area Bara Hindu Rao situated house of Imam Abdul Momin, a father of six, who gets a paltry salary of a mere Rs 5000 from the Delhi Waqf Board, writes Firoz Bakht Ahmed.
His number 5 daughter, Nida Khanum, has scored a 99 in English and her aggregate is 95.6 per cent at the recent class 12 Board Exam in the Humanities stream.
I still remember seven years ago when I told her previous Urdu medium school, Shafiq Memorial School principal, Sibghatullah Siddiqui to send two brightest students to appear for the MSOSA (Modern School Old Students Association) scholarship exam. Sibghatullah sent the toppers — Nida Khanam and Ifra Ajmali, both just having passed class five. Both cleared the exam and in the interview impressed the then principal, Lata Vaidyanathan with their expertise at English and science with subjects like — global warming, lunar eclipse etc.
When I told Dr Vijay Datta, the present principal, Modern School, how Nida’s father just missed depositing the scholarship form on the last day as he had walked down all the way from Bara Hindu Rao to Barakhamba Road, asking the people, the route, he was touched to the extent that tears welled up his eyes.
It’s true, Abdul Momin didn’t have the money to hire the three-wheeler and was almost refused the acceptance of the form by DP Singh, the bursar at the school office. However, when the Imam insisted, Singh took the form only to let Nida begin a fairy tale go-getter’s story.
Once Abdul Momin told me that his relatives and neighbours reprimanded him that it will be a sham if he would send his daughter in a skirt without “hijab” (veil). I told him to hold the fort and pounce upon this lifetime opportunity to educate his girls in one of world’s best schools. Fortunately, he listened only to bear the relatives’ brunt on his own singly. The result — a dream come true!
Nida Khanam, after securing 95.6%, is keen on an Honour’s degree in political science. But her father, an Imam, does not have the funds for her college education. A government school student earlier, she earned a scholarship to Modern School, Barakhamba Road, an achievement that probably has a bearing on her future. For at this school, she met good guides, including her English teacher.
“On his advice, I am approaching some organisations for financial assistance, including the Maulana Azad Foundation of which he is a part,” Khanam said.
Her father will plead with the Prime Minister for the girls’ scholarship as Nida is interested in higher studies. Besides, he would also request, Muslim Education Fund, Maulana Azad Education Foundation and the Minority Ministry besides requesting the HRD Ministry. However, the girl is determined to add more feathers to her cap in the field of education. If supported well, Nida also plans to go to Harvard!
(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is an activist and resides in Zakir Nagar. Also, he teaches English at Modern School)