Was ‘strict on myself’, says HSLC topper
DIMAPUR, APRIL 30
FOR 16-years-old Shubhamkar Barman, standing first in class was a habit – his parents do not remember an examination he didn’t secure first position, from nursery till, well, standard X.
From beating his own father at mathematics – and his father is a mathematics teacher of 24 years – he has come to land the top spot in Nagaland’s High School Leaving Certification (HSLC) examination results, announced today. To the jubilation of the Bengali community in Dimapur, the shy, unassuming student of Ram Janaki Higher Secondary School in Dimapur, secured a colossal 96.7% beating 14, 131 HSLC students across Nagaland. The school recorded three toppers in the Top-10, and fourth in the Top-50.
When Shubhamkar’s father, mathematics teacher Pratap Chandra Barman broke the news to his wife, Amita Barman, she did what any joyous mother would do – repeatedly keep asking if her husband got the name right, maybe he misheard it, or maybe the name was someone else’s and not her son, or perhaps a misspelling turned out to be her son’s name, or just perhaps the Nagaland Board of School Education typed the wrong person’s name!
‘She kept demanding from me to confirm it over and over again’, a beaming Barman senior told Eastern Mirror at his humble rented apartment in GS Road, Dimapur. Barman is also a mathematics teacher of 25 years in Ram Janaki Higher Secondary School. As all great events go, the school and the entire community are celebrating.
“It is a dream come true. I am happy. I did not believe it,” Shubhamkar Barman told this newspaper, as grinning staff members of his school, relatives and well-wishers crowded his flat. The shy – if awkward – student said he was “hundred percent” expecting to be in the Top-50, and ‘some hope to be in the Top-10’ but certainly not the top position itself.
“From childhood he used to be first in every examination,” said his father and his joyous yet shy mother nodded eagerly form the corner of the room. Barman junior maybe walking in the footsteps of his father, and a number of his cousins: In the 80s his father appeared for a competitive exam for civil employment, and topped the examinations.
Likewise, a cousin of Barman, Abhieshek Chakraborty, secured 2nd position in HSLC two years ago. “There are many who studied hard and secured good rankings. Those are the things inspired me to work harder,” Shubhamkar, who loves painting, explained.
“I wanted him to achieve the same. In maximum cases, he solved all mathematical problems himself. In fact, he would solve them in a different way that what I taught him,” the father said of his brilliant son. On Barman junior’s lap is Shubhamkar’s 4 year old younger brother Aniket, sleeping peacefully. The Barman family is originally from Cooch Behar of West Bengal.
In the corner, the topper’s English teacher SR Jha looked on with a wide smile, as Gautam Singh, the school’s clerk nodded eagerly at every possible valid point Shubhamkar apparently made. Another of his English teachers Vijay Prasad could not be stopped from praising his pupil: “This is a festive season for us. We are going to decide tomorrow what we are going to do (to celebrate).”
Shubhamkar wants to study science; pure science: mathematics and physics when he enrolls into college. Mental discipline was one of the chief factors that prepared him for the HSLC papers. “I studied daily for 10 hours approximately. Memorization is not important; understanding (the topic and subject) is the key to achieving success in examinations,” he said. “I used to be strict on myself. I always had this in mind to be in the Top-50 which I was sure hundred percent. But (landing the top spot) surprised me.”
The best part? He does not even have a mobile phone and does not do Facebook. This preteen is different: Mobile phones are “just a waste of time,” he explained as a matter-of-factly.
And, before you ask, Facebook is not even in the picture – he isn’t even on the social networking site, a stark oddball to many in his age group. “I was strict on myself. We should be disciplined in our choices,” he explained when queried about what he felt was the principal driving force behind his success.
The 16 year old credits his father and mother for the mentoring he received from them in both the humanities and the sciences, and his teachers and family for their support. But he still has a long way to go, he says. ‘I cannot see my future, but I know I’ll be good in science,” he nods in assertion.