After PM's praise, 'oldest learner' Bhageerathi Amma set to get her Aadhaar card

After PM's praise, 'oldest learner' Bhageerathi Amma set to get her Aadhaar card
Bhageerathi Amma (seated, white sari)

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's great granny, Bhageerathi Amma, who recently won the accolades of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 'Man Ki Baat' radio address for clearing fourth-level examination at the age of 105, is now set to get her Aadhaar card.

Hailing from the southern district of Kollam, the centenarian woman had scripted history by becoming the oldest 'equivalency learner' by winning the fourth standard equivalency examination conducted by the state-run Kerala State Literacy Mission (KSLM).

While expressing happiness over the prime minister mentioning her name in his monthly radio address last week, Bhageerathi Amma had said her only sorrow was that she was yet to get her Aadhaar card.

The chances of getting government welfare pension were gone as she had no Aadhaar card, the granny said.

The officials of a nationalised bank, who came to know about the plight of the woman through media, recently visited her at her home and completed all necessary procedures to get her enrolled in Aadhaar.

She has now got the acknowledgement receipt for the Aadhaar enrolment and the card is expected to be issued in the next two days, a KSLM official said.

"Bhageerathi Amma tried to get Aadhaar card before also but unfortunately she could not make it due to technical reasons. Her fingerprint and retinal scan could not be taken due to old age," the official informed.

While narrating the story of Bhagirathi Amma, Modi had said in his radio address that, "If we wish to progress in life, we should develop ourselves, if we wish to achieve something in life, the first pre-condition for that is the student within us must never die."

Defying age-related issues, the 105-year-old woman from Kerala appeared for the fourth standard equivalency examination, conducted by the state literacy mission, at Kollam last year.

Due to her advanced age, she had difficulty in writing the exams and took three days to complete the three question papers on environment, mathematics and Malayalam, literacy mission sources said.

Its results were announced recently. She scored 205 out of a total of 275 marks and scored full marks in maths, they said.

The woman, who had always yearned to study and gain knowledge, had to give up her dream of education herself after her mother died as she had to take care of her younger siblings.

Bhageerathi Amma had left formal education in class three at the age of 9.

The aim of the Literacy Mission is to make the state fully literate in four years.

According to the 2011 census, there were around 18.5 lakh illiterates in the state.

To wipe out illiteracy completely, the Mission has chalked out several programmes, especially among the marginalised groups like tribals, fisherfolk and slum dwellers.

(With input from PTI)

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