By Imran Khan
It was a sunny day and Raj Kumar Vaishya had trouble walking. But determined to get a postgraduate degree, the 97-year-old sat for a three-hour MA exam, along with students younger than his grandchildren.
Vaishya, who graduated in 1938, was appearing for his final year MA (economics) examination at Nalanda Open University (NOU), Patna.
He wrote in English and used nearly two dozen sheets, an NOU official said.
“He sat for three hours like every other student, most of them younger than his grandchildren. It surprised us all, including other examinees,” the official said.
Early this year, Vaishya was recognised by the Limca Book of Records as the oldest man to apply for a postgraduate degree.
A rare man, Raj Kumar Vaishya has set an example for millions of people who use age as an excuse to give up on their dreams. “I have decided to prove that even at 97 years, one can fulfil their dreams and achieve anything. I am an example,” Vaishya said.
Vaishya said: “I am also trying to send a message to the youth that defeat should never be accepted. I want to tell them not to get upset and depressed. ‘Mauka aur awsar har wakt rehta hai, kewal khud pe vishwas hona chahiyea’ (There will be always be opportunities for those who believe in themselves),” Vaishya said in mix of Hindi and Urdu.
He was frank in admitting that it is not easy to follow the routine of a student at his age. “It is really difficult for me to wake up early to prepare for the exams.”
Talking about his routine, Vaishya said he has devoted hours every day to studying and worked hard to prepare for the exams. “If I clear MA this year, my long cherished dream will be fulfilled. I hope I pass with a good percentage like in my first year MA exam.”
Vaishya enrolled for the course in 2015. He said he has no plans to pursue a PhD.