Inspiration

Indian Grandfather Defeats Ageism, Gets Degree at 93

Rahul Sharma
Indian Grandfather Defeats Ageism, Gets Degree at 93

Situations may put restrictions on the human spirit for a while, but if the roots of one’s aspirations are strong enough then nothing is impossible. 93-year-old C I Sivasubramaniam has proved that circumstances and the passing years of life could not keep him from achieving his dream of obtaining a graduate degree.

The story of Mr Sivasubramanian goes back to the 1940s when he could not continue his education to support his family financially.

“After finishing my school in the 1940s, I wanted to go to college but that meant either shifting to Trichy or Chennai. Meanwhile, both my parents fell ill and my relatives advised me against going because I had to take care of them. So, I got a job and started working,” he told PTI.

When his family shifted to Delhi, he got an opportunity to work as a clerk in the Ministry of Commerce. He made a steady rise in the hierarchy of the Ministry by clearing departmental exams and eventually retiring as a Director at the age of 58 in 1986.

His bright career is a symbol of his hard work and persistence. Even after achieving so much, he had a thorn in his consciousness of not being able to obtain a graduate degree. In the past, he was offered the opportunity to be a part of a prestigious United Nations program, which he could not grab as he was not a graduate.

But this man never stopped dreaming and immediately decided to pursue his dream as the dynamics of his responsibilities changed. On a faithful day when he was in his late eighties, the opportunity knocked his door in an unusual manner. "My wife was rendered bedridden when I was 87. I used to be by her bedside all through the day and my daughters would also come. One day, her physiotherapist said that he would leave a little early that day as he had to go to IGNOU to collect his form to apply for a course. I asked him to find out whether I could also apply," he remembered. 

"He found that age is no bar at IGNOU and hence, I enrolled for the bachelors' course in Public Administration even though I told my children 'I do not know whether I will be alive long enough to complete it.' After finishing my graduation, I enrolled for the master's degree," he added.

For six years, he woke up at 5 a.m. to indulge in extensive studies. His old age had hindered his writing ability and he could not write clearly, so his daughter volunteered to write his assignments while also as his scribe during the semester exams. Tragedy intervened and his wife passed away two days after she held his graduate degree in her hands.

Mr Sivasubramaniam completed his Master's Degree in Public Administration at the age of 93 and even earned praises from the HRD Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank,' who called him a 90-year-old "youngster."

When asked about his future plans, Sivasubramaniam replied, "I wanted to pursue MPhil but then one of my daughters said, 'There are few seats in MPhil and if you enrol for it, you will snatch the seat of an eligible candidate.'"

Image source: Scoopwhoop.com

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