Every city has a heart, a heart that beats within the hearts of its citizens. My heart still beats for Bokaro Steel City, where I lived for about some seventeen years. I opened my eyes for the first time in this place and eventually grew up to get my primary, secondary and senior secondary education here. Oh! I am getting nostalgic at this moment but c’mon I am not in any mood to write my life’s history over here.
What I wish to say is that Bokaro is different (all the cities are different but there’s something different in each city which makes it different). Apart from the Asia’s biggest Steel plant i.e. BSL (Bokaro Steel Limited), beautifully planned lanes, residential sectors and market the city has a number of academic institutions (mainly the CBSE schools namely DPS, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, The Pentecostal Assembly School, DAV, GGPS, MGM, Shree Ayappa…. and it goes on) and hence, it’s the Eastern hub for academics. Every year a swarm of students from every part of India land here for educational purposes. Students (the scholars) are the jewels of the city. Students hurtling down the clean and green lanes of the city on their bicycles or walking with a notebook in their hands is a common scene of the city. Within the range of a meter or two you can find hoardings and advertisements of coaching institutions like FIIT-JEE, Brilliant Tutorials, K-Institute, Narayana, Akash (and any name which you could think of).
But more than a business, education is the spirit of the city. As soon as a kid gets into a school he/she is made to believe that there’s only one goal to achieve and i.e. to secure the first rank in the class. And the race begins, a race to excel, a race to be the best among the peers and the student keeps pacing with the pace of big bulging syllabus. If you are a student of Bokaro and you get to be in a family party (by mistake) then an uncle would come and he would sit beside you talking about the ideal way of studying and obtaining 99% marks in your exams. And if you touch the feet of an aunty in that very party she would ask you about your rank in your class and then she would say-“my son has secured the first position. You try hard son, It won’t work this way (and a fake consideration hiding the evil grin)”.But I have not yet introduced the most loved name of the Bokarians. The name which instill a thrill into the nerves and the name which keeps the students awake for nights here, that great name is IIT-JEE (this name has haunted me for years). Everyone around you (inclusive of your parents, teachers, friends, relatives, neighbors, doctor, insurance agent, travel agent, milkman, newspaper vendor, plumber, electrician, cable operator, telephone service provider, barber, cobbler…) wants you to crack IIT-JEE (as if it’s not IIT-JEE but a walnut).
That was a comic aspect but there are students (in huge numbers) who devote their lives for this. I have seen my friends and seniors and juniors studying frenziedly, waking up for nights, eating nothing for the day and solving problems even in the washroom (this washroom thing I haven’t seen, I just know that). And if you are willing to know the outcomes then let me tell you that every year more than a hundred students qualify for IIT-JEE (and I am excluding the students who make it for the extended merit list of the IIT-JEE, other entrance examinations, national and international Olympiads). If you find some time then search for the students from Bokaro in your institution as well (be it an Engg, Arts or Commerce institution. I am sure you will find at least one) and find out how important their career and education is to them (more important than anything else).
Education is the culture of Bokaro and I am a part of this culture even today. I still think of my days in Bokaro, my bicycle, my books, loving teachers and a bunch of great friends. As a student I love my city and its peaceful environment. So, next time you get to be in Bokaro Steel City get a closer look of the real city which lives in its student and their fervor for excellence and then you will truly find ‘The city of scholars’. Images by ‘Google Images’