CBSE Class 12 results 2019: A glass cabinet filled with trophies won by Sana Niyaz adorns a pink wall of a small room the 17-year-old shares with her four sisters and mother in their Old Delhi home. The family has yet another reason to be proud — Sana, a student of an Urdu medium girls government school near Jama Masjid, is the top scorer among all Delhi government school students in the CBSE Class XII examinations, results for which were declared Thursday.
With a 97.6 per cent score, she is the fourth of her sisters to complete education from the same school — Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No. 2, Jama Masjid. The fifth and youngest sister is studying in class IX in the same school. Two years ago, Sana’s elder sister, Umra, had topped the school in her class XII CBSE examinations. All four sisters are the first generation in their family to have completed class XII. Their father, a cook at Matia Mahal’s famed Al Jawahar restaurant, and their mother, a housewife, both stopped studying after class VIII.
Sana said she never took tuition classes. Asked who helped her clear doubts after school hours, she promptly replied, “My sisters.”
The 17-year-old, who studied History, Political Science, Home Science, English and Urdu in her higher secondary, said she wants to pursue the BA Programme course at Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College. “Even though history is my favourite subject, I don’t want to do an honours degree because I want a mix of subjects. I also want to prepare for the civil services exams,” she said.
When she joins college, Sana will be following in the footsteps of her elder sisters — 19-year-old Umra is pursuing undergraduation from Hindu College; 20-year-old Ikra is doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Jamia Millia Islamia after graduating from Zakir Husain College; and 21-year-old Ilma is doing a vocational course in fashion designing, also after graduating from Zakir Husain College.
The path to higher education has not been without stumbling blocks. “Our father was initially not in favour of us even studying till class XII. But it is our mother who insisted we study and continued to push for us to go to college,” said Ilma.
The sisters spoke of whispers among neighbours and relatives — they live in a joint family with their father’s three brothers in their home, tucked amidst the narrow lanes of Matia Mahal. “Our relatives tell our mother that girls should not study so much, ‘woh bigad jaayengi’. No girl in the gullies around us has gone to college — with difficulty you will find some who are even allowed to go to school,” said Ikra.
Their mother, Asma Parveen, is not daunted by detractors. “I have been blessed with five daughters and I have always been very clear that their education is most important to me. Our relatives are shocked that I haven’t taught them how to do housework, but I want them to focus on their studies,” she said. She became so involved in her daughters’ school that she is currently chairperson of the School Management Committee.
Sana is the quietest of her daughters. “I’ve always been consistent with my studies. I would study every day after returning home from school. While studying for the board exams, I made a proper schedule — I would study for two hours, and then take an hour-long break to refresh myself.”
Ilma teased her: “She’s only interested in studying. She refuses to come with us to weddings and other functions. She doesn’t even know her way around the gullies.”
While Sana credits her performance in the examinations to her teachers, who she says were always ready to help her, her sheer resourcefulness also pulled her through. “I studied in Urdu medium, but there was no Urdu edition of the second sociology book required in our syllabus. I looked for study material online, as well as the English and Hindi texts,” she said. She scored 98 per cent in sociology.
Sana’s achievement comes in a year in which Delhi government schools achieved their best-ever performance in class XII examination, with a pass percentage of 94.29 per cent. Sana’s school SKV No. 2, Jama Masjid achieved a pass percentage of 100 per cent. In fact, it has had a 100 per cent record for the last three years in class XII.