Irfan Habib receives his degree from West Bengal governor K N Tripathi. Caravan Daily
Shabina Akhtar | Caravan News
KOLKATA — It’s not every day that someone from a remote village bags a double gold medal at the convocation ceremony of one of India’s finest universities. Meet Nadia’s Irfan Habib, son of a madrassa teacher, who has beaten all odds to top the Jadavpur University’s undergraduate programme in Mathematics.
The 22-year-old travelled all the way from Sonakur, a village in Bengal’s Nadia district, to pursue his dream of mastering mathematics. Talking to Caravan Daily, he said, “My mathematics teacher has played a vital role in influencing my career choice. He is the best Mathematics teacher in the world. It was he who motivated me to take it up as my major subject.”
Irfan bagged two gold medals during the 62nd Convocation of the University. “I secured 93 percent in B Sc to top my department. But, I have not just topped my department but also all the other departments of the University. Hence the two medals,” said he.
The convocation was attended by former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi and Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das. An excited Irfan gushed, “I can’t express my happiness on being awarded in the presence of the former president Pranab Mukherjee.”
He said, “I come from an average middle-class Muslim family, which believes that education is the only way out to emerge triumphant in life. My father is a senior madrassa teacher and mother is a homemaker. And to be honest, I had never thought of taking up mathematics for my higher education till I met my teacher who has played a vital role in shaping my career graph.”
Irfan did his schooling from FrontPage Academy, a residential institution situated in North 24 Parganas. “It was here that I met teachers who helped me script my success story. It was under their guidance that I scored 90.6% and 91.2% for Secondary and Senior Secondary Examination,” says the young boy, who aspires to earn a doctorate in Abstract Algebra.
Irfan’s elder sister also is pursuing her masters in mathematics. On being asked if mathematics runs in their blood, he laughed and said, “No, No. It is just a coincidence that both of us have taken up mathematics.”
On being asked if he faced any discrimination or difference in the quality of education once he shifted base to Kolkata, he said, “Not really. Jadavpur University and my professors have been very accommodating and kind to me. They have helped me out on many occasions. In fact, before joining the University, I had heard tales of the ragging sessions of the University. However, contrary to the belief that we have, I have witnessed no such ragging sessions within the University premises.”