[Sarfaraz Hussain with parents after results were declared on Tuesday.]
Guwahati: Sarfaraz Hussain, who topped the Assam Class 10 exam 2016 and is being acclaimed for his success, had earlier won prize for reciting Bhagwad Gita and was secretary of the school’s Saraswati Puja celebrations.
What's more, talking to reporters after Assam High School Leaving Certificate Examination (HSLC) Class 10 results 2016 were declared Tuesday, Sarfaraz's father, Ajmal Hussain praised Hindu goddess of learning "Saraswati" for his son's success.
The Bhagwad Gita, often referred to as simply the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Hindu traditionalists assert that the Gita came into existence in the third or fourth millennium BC.
Sarfaraz is a student of Sankardev Sishu Niketan, one of the many schools run by the Vidya Bharati affiliated Sishu Shiksha Samiti, Assam. Vidya Bharati is the education wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - the Hindu extremist organisation.
The school at Betkuchi on the outskirts of Guwahati has 24 Muslim students, most of whom – like Sarfaraz – have won prizes for reciting the "Bhagwad Gita", according to a report published by Hindustan Times.
“They have never complained about what we teach because our emphasis is on academic excellence apart from giving the students a grip on "Indian culture" and values,” Akshaya Kalita, the school’s headmaster, said while talking to Hindustan Times.
“We did not make them feel different, and as a rule, they have lunch with all the other students and teachers after a bhojan mantra (prayer before meal),” he added.
Hindustan Times further reported that Ajmal Hussain, Sarfaraz’s father who works at a restaurant, let his son study in the school because it provided free education.
“It would have otherwise been difficult to sustain his studies with my meagre income as a waiter in a small restaurant,” Hindutsan Times quoted his Ajmal Hussain as saying.
Ajmal, the HT report said, credited his son’s success to his hard work, the support from his schoolteachers, and also to the Hindu goddess of learning "Saraswati".
“The school shaped my life, and I hope to achieve greater academic glory as my teachers expect,” Sarfaraz said, wishing he could repay his alma mater some day.
“I worked hard. I never wanted to let my parents down. They (the school management) worked even harder to provide me facilities. I’m happy that my results have made my parents proud,” he said.
According to media reports, Sarfaraz Hussain topped Assam board’s Class 10 exam with 590 marks out of a maximum 600.
Assam education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Sarfaraj’s home to congratulate him on his success, and announced a Rs 5 lakh reward in addition to Rs 10 lakh to his school for infrastructure development.
“The Assam government will fix deposit Rs 5 lakh against Sarfaraj’s name for his future studies. Sarfaraj tells me that he wants to pursue his higher secondary course at Cotton College. The state government will also bear all his educational expenses in Cotton College till his Class 12 examination,” said Sarma.