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Man cracks H.S. at 69

Remember the famous Bran Adams number – summer of 69! Well this summer is going flamboyant for Ramanimohan Pal, who at his age of 69 years has every reason to smile. This sexagenarian came to the media limelight in Northeast when he appeared for the Higher Secondary examination in Tripura at the age of 69. He once again finds the cameras flashing hard at him because he has created a record of some sort by cracking the higher secondary examinations. Pal has successfully passed the examination for which result were declared recently by the Tripura Board of Secondary Education, as an external candidate.  

While talking to this reporter he was totally elated. "I am not surprised because I felt that I could clear it, but I am glad that I have tasted success at this old age." He was so delighted that tears of happiness trickled down. "I have no words to thank the local media here for highlighting my effort. I hope old people like me will find encouragement by reading my story on the website" Pal added.  

Ramanimohan Pal is a retired government employee and a proud father of two sons and one daughter, all of them well established as engineers, Pal toiled hard to provide proper education to his children. Now that they are established in their respective fields, still a young student at heart, Pal felt that the best way to utilise his retired life would be to sit for the H.S. Examinations and crack it. Pal's perseverance is all the more praise worthy when he decided to continue with studies at an age when he finds himself mostly bothered with heart ailments.  

“It was in 1967, when I last appeared for the intermediate examinations. The venue was the prestigious Maharaja Bir Bikram College. But on the very first day, soon after the invigilator distributed the question papers, I decided not to write the examination and left the hall," recalled Pal, while interacting with this reporter over a plate of sweets.  

He was then an employee of the Tripura Territorial Council, now a defunct body. Later, he was engaged in the Public Works Department from where he retired in 1996. He joined the Tripura government service in 1958.  

His extreme urge to realize his dreams made him determined to sit for the examinations amidst the teenagers. "It was not easy for me. I took some time to make up my mind. Last year also I filled up the form but ultimately did not go ahead with the plan. I was not totally convinced, but this year was determined. I was never worried about the outcome, I feel education is for all at any age," Pal said.  

The subjects that he is appeared and passed are Economics, Political Science and Economics and Geography, apart from Bengali and English. He scored 356 out of 1000 to succeed in the examination.

Pal had his initial schooling at Belonia Vidyapeeth in South Tripura district. He studied up to Class IX there and always came first in the class. This fact obviously confirms that he was indeed a good student.  

Later, his family shifted to Agartala and he joined the government service bringing an abrupt end to his educational career. "After retirement I had enough time to concentrate on my studies and it was then when I felt I should complete the unfinished task," Pal said.  

Back home, his family members are ecstatic with his success. His wife Leela Pal was so happy that she could not utter a word. "We are simply proud of him. I don’t have words to express my happiness. It's like a dream for us."  

As this reporter prepared to leave Pal's premises he suddenly asked “will I get admission in college?” the query itself speaks of his next step, which according to him would be pursuing his graduation from prestigious Maharaja Bir Bikram College at Agartala.

Time will say if Pal manages to put on the tag of a grad but it is for sure that Pal would go down to the memory lanes as an iconic figures of adult literacy in Northeastern India.                June 2007

Ratnadeep Choudhury is a freelance journalist based in Agartala, the capital of           

Northeastern India state of Tripura. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.