Alappuzha: The photograph of 97-year-old Karthyayani Amma writing 'Aksharalaksham' literacy examination at Kanichanellur UP school went viral on social media after 'Malayala Manorama' published it on August 6. Karthyayani Amma, who secured a record score of 98 out of 100, received her certificate from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday. She was projected as an icon of endurance and undying passion while Ramachandran Pillai, who was seen copying an answer from her answer sheet in the viral photograph, vanished from the scene.
Pillai, 81, is the son-in-law of Karthyayani Amma's younger sister. A native of Harippad 'Laksham Veedu' colony, Pillai works as a daily wage agricultural laborer in the locality.
“I had a deprived childhood and struggling youth. I wasn't fortunate enough to go to school and learn like other children. I made use of an opportunity to learn when literacy mission workers invited me to their classes,” Pillai said.
Pillai refuses to have copied from Karthyayani Amma's answer sheet. “I had a doubt and got it cleared by my aunt. I didn't copy. Aunt just helped me out,” Pillai told his instructor Sathi Krishnan amid a loud laugh.
However, Pillai is happy about his achievement. He secured 88 out of 100 in the examination. “Eighty-eight marks at 81 years is indeed a big deal for me. I wonder how much I would have scored had I given the examination when I was young,” a jovial Pillai said.