Aizawl: After Lalrinnungi, a vegetable-seller’s daughter, grabbed the nation’s attention for topping the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination in Mizoram, Given Lawmnakima Thiak, a farmer’s son in the remote Northeastern state, has scripted yet another interesting story of success in the face of adversity.
The HSLC exams, the results of which were declared by the Mizoram Board of Secondary Education (MBSE) on May 2, were held in February this year.
Thiak scored 433 out of 500 marks (86.6%), thereby earning him a ‘distinction’ (awarded to those who score 75% marks and above) in the board exams. He was just 31 marks short of a place in top ten.
Thiak secured letter marks (80 and above) in all the five subjects — English, Mizo, Mathematics, Science and Social Science.
While most students studied under tin roofs — some in air-conditioned rooms, this poor boy from a small town in north Mizoram’s Kolasib district lived and studied inside a bamboo hut and braved the sun to support his education.
Despite his financial difficulties, Thiak, who hails from Bilkhawthlir town under Serlui assembly constituency, left no stone unturned to receive education.
His father, David TVL Hmangaiha (58), earns a living out of traditional jhum cultivation but the earning is not sufficient to support his nine children. Thiak is the eldest of them all.
Thiak and his mother Lalzarmawii (35) help David in the fields to feed the low per-capita income family.
Originally hailing from Saipum, a village along the Mizoram-Assam border, Hmangaiha migrated to Bilkhawthlir, about 38 km from his native village, in search of better living in 1986. Since then, he has been living with his family in Bilkhawthlir.
Since the family had a hand-to-mouth existence, receiving education outside his town or in a reputed school was a far cry. But he did not give up and let poverty overcome him.
Born on March 22, 2004, Thiak’s first school was a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan school at his locality — Kharzawl. After Class III, he shifted to a church-run institution and later to a local government school.
When it finally came to Class X and eventually appearing in the board exams, Zaithanmawia, the principal of a private school — Bilkhawthlir High School — got him admitted free of cost since his parents did not have enough money.
“Not only did our school give me free admission, but it also provided school uniforms, textbooks and other school-related materials as they took pity on me for our poor condition,” the 15-year-old boy said, adding that sometime his teachers, too, contributed money towards his tuition fees.
The boy would, sometimes, walk up to 3.5 km to his school as his parents could not provide him the money for rickshaw or bus fare. “I used to help my parents at jhum cultivation to ensure that we earn from our produce to support my education and bus fare,” he said.
He added that his teachers would sometimes collect money for his fare.
Thiaks also helps his mother with household chores in their thatched-roof bamboo hut.
Incidentally, on May 2, when the results were declared, unlike other students, Thiak was toiling in the fields.
“I had heard that our result would be declared that day. But I could not skip work as we were planting betel nut trees. I asked my aunt to inform us about my result. She did while we were resting at our farm hut. Our joy knew no bounds when we learnt I cleared the exam with distinction,” Thiak told EastMojo, recollecting the joyous moment.
He said he drew inspiration from the stories of great people that he read during his middle and high school days.
His parents encouraged him to work hard so that he lives a comfortable life in future, he added.
“I inculcated in my mind the inspiring and moral stories I have read from books and also the advice from my parents. These motivated me to have determination,” the hard working boy said.
Thiak’s favourite subject is Science and he watches movies and reads book in his free time.
He wants to become an engineer later in his life.
Many people, who came to know of his success story that went viral on social media three days after the results were declared, congratulated him for the achievement. Serlui MLA Lalrinsanga Ralte rewarded him with Rs 10,000.