As Most-Educated, She Hoisted Flag on Jan 26

Nirmala Devi
Nirmala Devi, in maroon, hoists the national flag on Republic Day. © NDTV

Today is the happiest day of my life. I hoisted the national flag and nothing could make me more excited. My parents too are extremely proud of me.

They have both worked very hard for my education. I have two brothers and three sisters, and my father would often borrow money for our education. We were never denied anything.

He (father) is a farmer and my mother a home-maker. I help them in the fields and with housework. In fact, that’s how my free time is spent. I actually enjoy doing ghar ka kaam – I cook and clean.

My college was in Rohtak (70 km from my village, Intal Kalan, in the Jind district of Haryana). My father and I would take a train every morning to college. He would drop me and come back and then again come to college in the afternoon to take me home. We did this for two years during my MSc. I will always be indebted to my parents.

Nirmala Devi, in maroon, hoists the national flag on Republic Day.
The one thing that I learnt from them and that will always stay with me is – speak the truth, no matter what. I am a firm believer in standing by the truth.

My ambition is to be a Maths teacher. I study 6-7 hours, a day and have never needed tuition. Maths has always been my favourite subject. I have never, ever been nervous before exams.I think I will be a fairly lenient teacher. I don’t believe in pulling up kids. The key is to have patience and be persistent.

I see tough times ahead – let’s see where my career goes. I have no plans to marry in the near future. I am studying for the NET (National Eligibility Test) so that I can be hired as a teacher at a state-run university. It will be crucial.

The three things I’d like to change about our country – abolish dowry, bring in better teachers for schools, provide better guidance for young minds. My message to PM Modi – please continue the good work with the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign. It is essential for India.

Jai Hind!

As told to

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