At the convocation ceremony of Madras University, a 67-year-old woman M. Chellathai was awarded her post-graduate MA degree in History. She was pursuing her Master’s degree in History and was admitted to the programme by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Open University, said a report by The Hindu.
Ms Chellathai says, “I will join another course to study law. Age cannot deter me from studying.” She also recalled the immense challenges which she faced in her pursuit of education, owing to the dire social situation in her hometown during the 1960s. Ms Chellathai is now determined to achieve her goal.
Stories of struggles
Five decades ago, her father tore up the application for admission to Queen Mary’s College. She wanted to join the pre-university course in Chennai after she cleared her SSLC in her hometown, Sattur. Her father rejected her request saying that women pursuing higher studies is an idea heavily frowned upon by their family.
Chellathai’s dreams remained unfulfilled, yet it did not fade away. She got married in Kadambur, a few kilometres away from her hometown. Even her husband did not allow her to pursue higher studies and get a degree. After many years, her husband agreed to permit her to seek employment in the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation as a clerk in Gopalapuram. She was permitted to work after her father’s death. In spite of being allowed to work, she still wasn’t permitted to pursue higher education. She retired in 2009.
“My hope of joining a course to study at the university level was not fulfilled until my retirement. It was five decades later that my dream of pursuing a degree came true. I used the money I received as retirements benefits to sponsor my education,” said Ms Chellathai, according to the report by The Hindu.
Fulfilment of dreams
After her husband passed away in 2013, she pursued her goals with the help of her educated children. Ms Chellathai further added, “I educated my daughters. They have always motivated me.” Ms Chellathai now resides in Ram Nagar, Madipakkam. She says, “Every young student I speak to reminds me of the opportunities I have now. One of my daughters helps me at home with the studies.”
The Logical Indian is proud of the determination which Ms Chellathai has. Her determination will power and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge has pushed her to chase her unfulfilled dream even after five decades. The Logical Indian salutes her perseverance and wishes her best in her future endeavours.