Imphal, May 29 - Everything is possible when a man is determined, says Mohammad Ismat. The word impossible, he says, does not cross his mind. A boast? No. He has just exemplified what he says with conviction.
The Manipur lad has weathered acute poverty and braved situations of insurgency in pursuit of his dream, and gone on to top this year's All India Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (AISSCE). The word impossible does not cross his mind, he says.
"I have a strong conviction that everything is possible when a man is determined," Ismat said Tuesday, a day after he scored 99 percent marks in the Class 12 science stream examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
He secured 100 marks each in Mathematics, Chemistry, Home Science and Fine Arts, and 97 in Physics and 98 in English, scoring 495 out of 500 - and went on to become the first from the northeast to top the AISSCE.
"It is indeed great. I proved myself and confirmed that the northeast India has more such brilliant students. They should be properly nourished," the 21-year-old student of Manipur's Zenith Academy said.
On topping the examination, he told IANS over phone: "I was confident of scoring a good percentage in the examination but to achieve the top position was beyond my imagination. I am very happy that I have been able to make my family, particularly father, proud."
Ismat, a Meitei Pangal (Manipuri Muslim), has now become the first student in the entire northeastern region to top the AISSCE examination.
A resident of Muslim-dominated Lilong Haoreibi village in Thoubal district of Manipur, Ismat is the only son and the youngest of seven children of Mohammad Bashirur Rahman, a government primary school teacher.
Ismat, who nurtured his dreams and ambition despite his primary school teacher father's acute financial constraints, said: "After passing Class 10 examination, I planned to study in a good school in Imphal... but I could not because of the financial difficulties faced by my family."
The boy began his primary education in a local English medium school before switching over to a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Imphal where he studied up to Class 8. Later, he joined the Sainik School Imphal where he scored 94.2 percent marks in the Class 10 CBSE examination.
He had to leave the Sainik School as his family was finding it difficult to pay his school fees.
Expressing his gratitude for the authorities of Zenith Academy, Ismat said: "The school authorities waived my tution fees and the fees for the bus which helped me continue my studies."
"Sir S.M. Singh, the management secretary of Zenith Academy, accepted my request to (let me) study in the school at a minimum fee, and with his kind guidance and advice I have come out with flying colours."
Besides scripting history in the entire northeast, Ismat is now looking forward to set another record in the civil services exams. "My dream is to pursue my future studies at the St. Stephen's College in New Delhi and try for the civil services exams," said Ismat, who considers books his best friends.
Expressing happiness over his son's achievement, an excited Bashirur Rahman said, "My happiness knew no bounds. My son Ismat has done it and I think he would definitely become a leader to guide thousands of poor students to become great personalities."
The school -- Zenith Academy -- also went into celebrations over Ismat's success.