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Aspired for a pass, ends up as topper

Amutha Kannan
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CA exam all-India top ranker Prema Jayakumar felicitated

All-India topper in the Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination Prema Jayakumar at Sri Krishna Institutions in Coimbatore on Friday.Photo: K. Ananthan
All-India topper in the Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination Prema Jayakumar at Sri Krishna Institutions in Coimbatore on Friday.Photo: K. Ananthan

It was clear that she did not aspire big when she said that all she wanted was to get a good job in a corporate. But this was a surprise, because it came from the all-India topper in the Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination Prema Jayakumar.

This Tamil girl from Mumbai, who was in Coimbatore on Friday to attend a felicitation hosted in her honour by Sri Krishna Institutions, said that she just “wanted to clear CA exam in the first attempt”.

The simple, soft-spoken daughter of an autorickshaw driver from the back-lanes of Malad in Mumbai, is happier as she and her younger brother Dhanraj, who prepared and wrote together, cleared in the first attempt. She believes that theirs must be the first such case in the history of CA examination.

Receiving a purse of Rs. 3 lakh from S. Malarvizhi, chairperson and managing trustee, Sri Krishna and VLB Institutions, she stood tall as a role model who could score 607 out of 800 marks by studying in a house that was smaller than 300 sq. ft. and in not so affluent surroundings.

G. Ramaswamy, immediate past president, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), said that it was a great achievement to get that score competing with more than two lakh students.

Exam standards

“The examination standards are very high and only a very negligible percentage passes every year. What is special about Prema is that she is different from the toppers of the last 60-odd years. She is from an economically poor background and has persevered and worked very hard to be where she is today. The courage, conviction and commitment of the parents have to be lauded to have made both their children excel,” he said.

If one thought that the father would have had to contribute much of his earnings towards the siblings’ education, it was not so.

Prema took up CA after her B.Com. While she started her CA, she also simultaneously applied for M.Com. During the course of her study she realised that it was not necessary to complete B.Com to start CA, so she encouraged her brother to start CA even during his second year in college. That way, both of them got to share study material and prepare together.

Another advantage in the whole arrangement was that, both of them became eligible for a monthly stipend of Rs. 3,000 each after the first year of CA.

Once they took up articleship in the second year, the amount of Rs. 6,000 between them was used effectively by the siblings so as not to burden their father.

The amount increased with every year of study.

Prema and Dhanraj went to one of the Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation schools where they studied in Tamil till Standard VII and later on in English from Standard VIII. The siblings hope to pick up jobs and elevate the status of their parents – with roots in Villupuram in Tamil Nadu – who stood behind them in spite of the economic conditions.

While K. Sundararaman, principal of Sri Krishna College of Arts and Science, and K. Jalapathi, chairman, Coimbatore Branch of Southern India Regional Council of ICAI, appreciated the courage of Prema for braving all odds to bag the first rank, it was her brother who paid her the ultimate tribute.

Though he had also written the examination, Dhanraj said he had only expected his sister to get a rank. And, today he was proud that she became the all-India topper.

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