Days after The Sunday Express carried a report about A Gomathi, a 17-year-old medical aspirant from Chennai, DMK chief M K Stalin met her Friday and handed over a cheque for her education. Talking to The Indian Express, Gomathi said Stalin invited her for a meeting after he read the report. “I went there with my parents. He handed over a cheque and wished me all the best,” she said.
Belonging to a Dalit family, Gomathi studied at a government school in Chennai and had scored 93 per cent marks in Class XII. However, she could not clear NEET as the questions in the examination were not part of the state board syllabus. Gomathi’s parents could not afford to pay for private coaching.
Speaking to The Indian Express, she pointed out the rote learning and tricks that coaching centres teach students for good scores in NEET exam. “Does it help a doctor do critical surgery? If the state board syllabus is at fault, why do CBSE students need coaching?” she asked.
“Why not provide us an equal opportunity, before forcing us to compete with CBSE, ICSE students? If the Prime Minister came, I would tell him, ‘I will prove myself but give us equal education, before you make us write a common exam’,” she said.
Living in a two-room house in Virugambakkam, Gomathi’s family still cherish the memories of her grandfather — Virugambakkam Aranganathan — one of the first protesters who immolated himself at the peak of the anti-Hindi agitation in 1965. Stalin said, “From media reports, I came to know about Gomathi, granddaughter of late Aranganathan. I promised her support and handed over a cheque.”