Madrasa girl wins science innovation award but poverty stops her from pursuing science
By Rizwan Khatik - Thu Sep 29, 3:51 am
Kolkata: Rahia Khatun, a madrasa student in West Bengal, has won a science innovation award from Government of India. The sole purpose of the award is to inspire youths to pursue science after Class X in higher studies but Rahia’s tragedy is that after winning the award as a Class X student of a madrasa in Birbhum district, she can’t pursue the subject any more. Thanks to poverty and no support from any quarter of the society, she has opted for Arts stream in Class XI at a local High School.
Rahia Khatun became State Champion (form West Bengal) of ‘National Level Exhibition and Project Competition’ as part of “Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research” INSPIRE Award 2011. INSPIRE Award is an initiative of Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India. The aim of the initiative is to promote and inspire the students of schools to take-up science.
Rahia received the award from President of India, Pratibha Patil on 16th August 2011 in New Delhi. Rahia got a cash award of Rs 10000 along with the certificate for innovating a measuring balance.
Rahia, the student of Mahidapur High Madrasah near Bolpur in Birbhum district of West Bengal, has been awarded for her innovating a balance for blind persons who with this balance can correctly measure grocery items etc. When she was reading in Class X last year then she chalked out a plan to make a new balance for blind persons.
Talking to TCN about her innovation, she said, ‘There is a small U pattern tube with mercury nearby the balance stick and connected with battery. At time of measurement, if the weight is lower then you hear a sound and when it is higher then you hear a different sound. With these sounds, a blind person can understand whether or not the grocery items are correct in weight.’
Headmaster of Mahidapur High Madrasa, Mr Kamrup Zaman who is a Post Graduate in Chemistry guided her and assisted her for any requirement. Not only the Headmaster, but all the teachers appreciated Rahia for the innovation.
Gold shining in mud
Rahia lives in Mahidapur Mirzapara village under the Bolpur Police Station of Birbhum District. Rahia’s father Sheikh Makbul and mother Nafisa Bibi are illiterate. Rahia is the first generation learner. Sheikh Makbul works as an agriculture labor in the local field. The family of eight (five daughters and one son) lives in a mud house. There is no electricity in her home. But some neighbor has given a connection of light to the hut. Their condition is below poverty line. But they have not got a BPL card or a home under the Indira Awas Yojana.
Rahia is third daughter of her parents. She has five sisters and only one brother. Rahia said, her two sisters left the school when they were in class VIII. They are now engaged in agricultural land as a labour to support the family. The whole family is striving for Rahia’s higher study. It is fact that, Rahia is the first member of the family to pass High Madrasa (class X).
Now Rahia is reading in Class XI at Bolpur Sreenanda High School. She passed High Madrasa exams (X Std) last year with First Division and got high marks in Life Science. Kamrup Zaman, Headmaster of her madrasa, said, “Rahia wants to take science stream, but due to lack of money she has taken Arts stream.”
Rahia said, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has awarded Madrasa toppers, so she hopes CM will call her and award her too and also arrange some scholarship to maintain her study in future. She is waiting to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. If she calls her, then she would tell her how they are living and studying in so poor condition.
No minority scholarship, no reward from West Bengal Madrasa Board
Rahia told TCN that she is not getting any scholarship from Minority Department of West Bengal Government. With hope, she has applied for post-matric scholarship this year again.
She is more disappointed because the West Bengal Madrasa Education Board has not yet contacted her to even congratulate her, leave alone award or reward. Rahia is the first madrasa girl in West Bengal who cracked the state-wise INPIRE competition and achieved the top award. She was called to Delhi and honored with the award but has not got call from the state.
But she wants to send a message to the nation: Madrasa students are able to achieve success.