Orissa’s IT minister toils to ‘complete studies’

March 19th, 2011 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, March 19 (IANS) Every night as the clock strikes 11, Ramesh Chandra Majhi buries himself in books. The next two hours see rapid fluttering of pages and hectic note making before the 33-year-old Orissa minister of IT, science and technology calls it a day — he is preparing for the plus two examinations.

Setting an example that learning never ends, the minister is literally burning the midnight oil to get a degree in arts.

“I knew the importance of education, but I could not complete my studies for various reasons,” Majhi, who belongs to the Gond tribe, told IANS over phone.

The minister travels to Panabeda village to sit for the March 12-30 examinations. He failed to clear the papers in his first attempt in 1995. Once he passes, he will be eligible to take a three-year degree course in Bachelor of Arts.

“I joined politics in 1997 when I was just 19. I was elected chairman of the local panchayat samiti. After serving the position from 1997 to 2002, I was elected member of the district council in 2002 and remained in the position for two years,” says Majhi.

The marriage of his sisters, the death of his father, political work and other activities prevented him from completing his studies.

“That is why I decided to sit for the examination before it is too late,” says Majhi, who inherited the legacy of his late politician father.

His father, Jadav Majhi, was a post-graduate. He worked as a teacher for 10 years before joining politics in 1984.

After two unsuccessful attempts in the Lok Sabha elections, Majhi senior was elected to the state assembly from the Dabugaon constituency in 1990 and 1995.

He also served as a minister of state in the erstwhile Biju Patnaik government from 1990 to 1995, and held portfolios like planning co-ordination, industries and public enterprises.

Majhi junior was elected from the same area to the assembly after his father died in 1999.

He talks fondly about his father, saying that he “was also a poet and a short story writer”.

“I always carry the regret of not being able to study things myself,” says the young minister, who is busy studying at his home in Dandamunda village in the tribal populated Nabrangpur district, about 650 km from Bhubaneswar.

“I am satisfied with my performance. I hope I will pass these exams,” he says, adding that he is given no special preference because of his political lineage.

He answers questions sitting in a small college room, while his ministerial colleagues in Bhubaneswar attend the assembly proceedings.

Asked how far this was affecting office work, Majhi said: “Even when I am out of office, officials are constantly in touch with me. They are consulting me in every matter.”

“I do my political and official work till late evening, and study from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., he said.

Majhi has been complimented for his efforts not only by his family members, relatives and friends but also by senior leaders of his party Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

“Each one of us must have a good education. It is a requirement to do better in life,” said Majhi, father to a son and daughter.

Majhi’s wife Tapaswini believes higher education will help her husband serve people better.

“I am happy he is pursuing his goal,” she said.

Gopal Murmu, a tribal student of the region, said: “Where there is a will, there is a way. We got a lesson from him (Majhi) that learning never ends, wherever you are and whatever position you hold.”

(Jatindra Dash can be contacted at jatindra.d@ians.in)

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