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Meet This 73-year-old Who Dreams of Learning English and is Now Studying in Class Five

Lalringthara studies alongside 11-12-year-old students in Class 5 of the New Hruaikawn Government Middle School in a small village in Mizoram.

Karishma Hasnat | News18

Updated:April 18, 2018, 12:06 PM IST
Meet This 73-year-old Who Dreams of Learning English and is Now Studying in Class Five
The school headmaster often calls Lalringthara to his room during the free periods for a chat. (Image: News18)
Agartala: “Roll Number One,” the teacher called out and pat came the reply with a confident “Yes, Sir”. And so began the day for this middle school student, a 73-year-old, who has captured everyone’s attention in Mizoram’s Champhai. ‘Pu (Mr) Ringthar’, as his classmates fondly call him, is possibly India’s oldest student in Mizoram.

Lalringthara studies alongside 11 and 12-year-old students after enrolling himself in fifth grade at the Mizo-medium New Hruaikawn Government Middle School in Champhai District, 232 km from Aizawl.

“I am very happy to sit next to playful young students in my class. They are lovely and I don’t feel awkward in any way. My only worry is to be able to wear proper clothes to school daily. Other than that, I have no other problem,” said Lalringthara.

In his crisp white shirt and black trousers, Lalringthara stands in the front row during the morning assembly every day when school starts at 8 am.

He was admitted to the new session (2018-2019) on the 3rd of April this year, and his teachers regard him to be a good student.

“Lalringhthara is one among the nine students of Class 5. When he first came to me, I was a little taken aback by his decision to get admitted to school, but he was very serious about it. He wishes to learn English. The students are very fond of him and they respect him for his age,” said school headmaster, Vanlalkima.

He walks to the Mizo-medium school every day, which is barely 300 metres from his house in New Hruaikawn village, which only has about forty families.

During free periods and recesses, the headmaster calls him to his room for a conversation, or share words of wisdom and perhaps some lessons too.

Lalringthara has never had a family, but now he is not alone anymore. He had been to school once but could never finish his studies. After clearing Class 2 in 1958, he took to farming and started saving whatever he could for a decent living.

Lalringthara knows how to read and write Mizo, but his only dream is to learn English. Headmaster Vanlalkima said his oldest student is in good health and is very enthusiastic to study and even sit for examinations.

Trying to match his steps with other students in the school drill exercise, ‘Pu Ringthar’ is spirited enough to look to the future. He hopes to inspire others to ignore obstacles of old age and follow their heart.

“Going to school is a very special feeling. Education is the best way to prepare for a promising future and all students should be determined to do their best. And for people like me, I want them to feel free and not be ashamed to go to school,” remarked Lalringthara.

(With inputs from Zothansanga)
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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