A LinkedIn post by Juhi Koré, a Master's graduate from Oxford University, has been moving many netizens' hearts for all the right reasons. Introducing us to the story of her grandfather, who was not allowed to sit in classrooms despite his eagerness to gain an education, she honours his legacy as she now graduates from one of the world's best-ranking universities.
Born and brought up within a humble farming household in rural Maharashtra during the late 1940s, his dreams were viewed as absurdly ambitious for someone who was struggling to meet the day's end. Not confining himself to these limitations, he persevered and has set an example for many.
The Journey To World's Best University!
Juhi Koré is a Master's degree holder from Oxford University with a focus on comparative social policy and has made it to the Dean's list in every single term. She has done TedEx speeches and has written books to guide first-generation students in their academic and professional development.
However, this success story begins way back in 1947 with a boy named Sonappa Daji, who never gave up. This was the year India was declared a free and independent country, yet not every citizen could enjoy this freedom as they were still held back by societal shackles. In such a space and time, the young school-aged Sonappa from a lower-caste background aspired to attend school and gain an education like every other child. This wish of his was not entertained back then by his family for two reasons.
Firstly, as the eldest child in the family, he was expected to help his family on the farm and take over as the breadwinner of the family.
Secondly, they internally feared how their child would be treated by the students and teachers of the school, who came from well-off and upper caste backgrounds.
Not being disappointed over these, Sonappa struck a deal with his parents, saying that he would work on the farm from three in the morning and would attend classes in the second half of the morning. So even before the birds chirped in the morning, he was up toiling in the farmlands for his family.
Unfortunately for him, though, his parent's second fear came true, and he was discriminated against in the classrooms. After working early morning and walking barefoot for over an hour to reach the school, he was not even allowed to sit in the classroom with other students. He still continued without giving up hope. Borrowing books from other older, similarly outcast students, he studied under the village lamposts late at night and attended school in the morning even after being bullied by his peers and teachers.
He was able to prove himself by outranking everyone in the class and was recognised by the school principal, who was kind enough to fund his further schooling and living expenses after having seen his interest in education. Sonappa went ahead to learn English and moved to the big city of dreams - Mumbai for his higher education.
While doing his Bachelor's in Law, he worked as a cleaner in a government building to fund his education. A few years later, after he attained his master's, he began working in the very government building as a high-level government official. Even with the little that he earned, he ensured that his family received the educational opportunities he was deprived of in the early stages. Skipping meals and setting aside money for his children's education, his second generation attended competitive exams and now holds reputed posts.
Even after retiring as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in Mumbai, his pursuit of gaining education never ceased. Enrolling himself in yet another Master's Program (LLM) on the day of his retirement, he showed how education was attached to his strong personal values and was not just a means to a professional end.
"I am so proud of that boy", says his granddaughter in the post.
Continuing To Make Him Proud
Juhi says that her grandfather played a key role in instilling the importance of education in her and hopes to make him proud of the way she has carried on his legacy.
The day she was accepted to the University abroad, she had called to inform her grandfather, and within a few minutes, the entire locality heard the news from him. Talkinh to The Logical Indian, she says that he was her biggest cheerleader and was instrumental in sending her overseas for her education.
It was through him that she gained the confidence to go abroad at the age of 17 and reach the heights that she is at today. Unfortunately, the family lost him just a year ago, but his story and legacy continue to live through his children and grandchildren, who continue to achieve feats in his honour.
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