Chennai

Five-decade-old dream comes true for 67-year-old

For M. Chellathai, 67, it was a five-decade-old dream come true when Governor Banwarilal Purohit, by virtue of the authority vested in him as the Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Open University, admitted her to the masters’ degree in History in that university.

“I will join another course to study Law. Age cannot deter me from studying for a degree,” says Ms. Chellathai.

Recalling the challenges she faced in her pursuit of education because of the social conditions in her hometown during the 1960s, Ms. Chellathai says she is determined to achieve her goal.

Five decades ago, her father tore up the application for admission to Queen Mary's College. She wanted to join the pre-university course in Chennai after clearing her SSLC in her hometown, Sattur. But her father rejected her request, saying, in their family, higher education for girls was frowned upon.

Ms. Chellathai’s dream did not fade away even after she got married in Kadambur, a few kilometres away from her hometown, and her husband was reluctant to allow her to pursue a degree.

After many years, her husband agreed to permit her to seek employment in the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation in Gopalapuram as a clerk, after her father’s death. Yet she was not permitted to pursue higher education. She retired in 2009.

“My hope of joining a course to study at the university level was not fulfilled until my retirement. I used the money I received as retirement benefits for my education,” says Ms. Chellathai.

After the death of her husband in 2013, she pursued her goal with support from her educated children. “I educated my girl children. They motivate me,” says Ms. Chellathai, who is currently a resident of Ram Nagar, Madipakkam.

“Every young student I talk to reminds me of the opportunities I have now. One of my daughters at home assists me. I work hard,” says Ms. Chellathai.


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 8:36:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/five-decade-old-dream-comes-true-for-67-year-old/article21041349.ece

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