80-year-old fights cancer to pursue MA

KOLKATA: This 80-year-old cancer patient believes that there is no second chance in life. So, when Pabitra Roy of Uttarpara retired as the general foreman of Hindustan Motors in 1993, he decided to pursue his dreams of higher studies which he couldn’t due to financial constraints earlier.

Roy, who is suffering from cancer in rectum and has undergone a surgery last April, is doing his masters in English literature under distance education course from Rabindra Bharati University. He is yet to start taking radiation therapy, as advised by the doctors in November, for his exam was due in December.

“After retirement, I couldn’t think of spending time in local ‘addas’ (gathering). Rather, I wanted to fulfil my long-cherished dream of pursuing higher studies,” the octogenarian said.

S K Bhattacharya, the course coordinator, said, “He is our pride. In my service, I have seen very few students as attentive and sincere as him. He has attended every single class from the beginning of the course. We are also surprised with the fact that how a man of his age, with a disease like cancer, could score cent per cent attendance.” On Saturday, he travelled to Barasat College from Uttarpara by bus to sit for the Part I exam of the MA course.

After his retirement, Roy completed his BA, a certificate course on ‘Upanishad’ from Belur Ramakrishna Vivekananda University and MA on human rights from Indian Institute of Human Rights, Delhi. “When he came to our college, we were so inspired that we used to introduce him to other teachers in high esteem which he did not like,” added Bhattacharya.

Roy’s daughter Sutapa Roy, a doctor, said, “As a daughter, I am proud of my father. As a doctor, I’m surprised how he could concentrate on studies while managing a colostomy bag where his excreta is collected from inside.”

Roy, a member of Chandernagore English Lover’s Association, came in touch with Professor Prabir Kumar Hui, who teaches English literature, and expressed his desire to study the subject. While talking to TOI, Professor Hui said, “Most of the students, who opt for distance course do it for a particular objective but

At this age, Roy has nothing to gain except pure pleasure from studies. Undoubtedly, he is the most sincere student in the class.”

The course coordinator has sent a letter to the directorate of distance education requesting financial assistance for Roy’s studies. “It is difficult for me to sit for hours at a stretch. Now that the exam is over, it seems that four hours have passed very quickly,” Roy said.

When Bhattacharya instructed the invigilator to give Roy seven more minutes after the exam was over, Roy said, “But, it’s a crime”. Bhattacharya then replied: “I wish if I could get a chance to commit this crime now and again.”

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