Nargis Naseem, a Class XII government school student from northeast Delhi, was on her way to the physical education examination on February 24 when the riots broke out near her home in
Accompanied by a relative, she returned home safely but her house was burnt down the very next day. With the home, the 17-year-old girl lost all books too. The family moved to a small rented room in the nearby Chandu Nagar, an area where many riot victims took shelter.
Though Nargis was too shocked to study, her family managed to get some of her books through donation. But with Covid-19 derailing the rest of the examinations, Nargis, the daughter of a labourer, could finally appear in just two subjects, political science and physical education, before the examinations were postponed in northeast Delhi due to the riots.
On Monday, she was jubilant when the website of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) showed that she had scored 62%. Nargis said she wasn’t sure about clearing the examinations, let alone scoring above 60%. At most, Nargis said, she thought of getting just decent marks as she had done well in those two subjects.
“It was on the day of my physical education examination that I witnessed the violence while going to the Gokulpuri government school. We could not get any transport while returning and spent hours walking through lanes before reaching home safely after 4pm,” Nargis recalled.
Her uncle Salim, who was instrumental in saving the family, said, “She has done well and we are all proud of her. Despite the odds, she has got over 60%. This is a lot for us as we were running for our lives a few months ago.”
Nargis, however, rued that in normal circumstances, she would have scored better. “An NGO gave me books and was helping me with studies.” While CBSE has offered re-examination options for cancelled subjects later, Nargis said she was not sure when those exams would take place and “it would be late for me”.
Nargis aspires to be a fashion designer and is now getting ready for college admissions.