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When a coir-worker couple in Kerala taught their children to dream big

Haridas and Komala along with their son Roopesh H who became deputy collector in Kerala after clearing Kerala Administrative Service (KAS). Image Credit : Jagan H

When Roopesh H, a visually challenged, took charge as deputy collector in Alappuzha a few days back after clearing Kerala Administrative Service (KAS), it marked the determination and triumph of a coir-worker couple in Alappuzha who struggled a lot to provide their three sons with the gift of education.

Haridas V K, 74, and his wife Komala, 71, of Alappuzha despite their weak economic status toiled tirelessly for all these years and the achievement of their son is a testament to their dedication, resilience and unwavering belief in the transformative power of education.

Though Haridas and Komala had studied only upto ninth standard because of their weak economic circumstances, they always weaved a dream of seeing their children climbing the heights of education and securing a good life. Their toil may have gone unnoticed by many but their unwavering determination set the stage for a brighter future for their three sons – Jagan H, Roopesh H and Aneesh H. While Jagan is a higher secondary school teacher, Aneesh is a government officer with Civil Supplies Department.

It was Jagan, the eldest son, who set an early precedent of the family’s commitment to education. Driven by his parents’ sacrifices, he studied diligently and excelled academically which inspired his younger brothers.

“Due to our weak finances, we struggled a lot during our early days. But we never gave up our studies. During our college days, we used to work as labourers to collect coconut husk from water for coir making. The husk used to have a foul smell and it never goes away even if we take bath. I used to sit in a corner on the last bench of my class in college to avoid inconvenience to other students. After graduation, we started taking tuition classes for students to make money for our studies,” Jagan told “Open Digest“.

As Jagan took commerce as subject for graduation and post-graduation, both Roopesh and Aneesh also followed the suit. Roopesh, despite losing his eye-sight right from his childhood days due to a damaged vein by birth, did not allow his disability to deter his spirit. With an unwavering commitment to education, Roopesh braved his circumstances and proved that adversity could not diminish his thirst for knowledge. Roopesh surpassed all expectations and achieved academic excellence, culminating in his remarkable ascent to becoming a top-ranking bureaucrat.

“Roopesh still teaches students free of cost. He never demands fees. When he lost 90 per cent of eye sight while studying in tenth standard, doctors advised him to stop giving strain to his eyes. But he wasn’t ready to give up. He studied hard despite knowing that he will lose his eyesight fully. After completing post-graduation in commerce, he cleared State Eligibility Test and National Eligibility Test (NET). Though he secured a job of teacher, he continued chasing his dream to become a bureaucrat and fought hard to clear KAS in his first attempt,” Jagan said adding it was the determination and love of our parents who struggled all their life to take care of us that gave us the strength and will to study. “We have seen their struggles and it gave us the power to come up in life,” Jagan added.

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