Kanpur, April 8 (IANS) In a country where bunking classes is common, a 17-year-old Muslim boy stands out in stark contrast. He has not missed a single class in 14 years of school life.
Meet Mohammed Omar, student of St Aloysius School who took his Class 12 exam last month.
Teachers say Omar has not been absent even a single day. Omar told IANS that he did not do this intentionally initially but was simply interested in going to school regularly.
But at a later stage when he came to Class 10, he began to ensure that he did not skip a single day at school.
Son of businessman Mohammed Ikram, who supplies salt to tanneries in Kanpur, Omar says he would attend school even when his locality was flooded after rains or when he had high fever.
"If I was unwell I would pop a pill and go the school," he said.
Once his home on Nayi Sadak in Kanpur's Techbagh area was under knee-deep water. His father's scooter got stalled. He immediately borrowed a cycle from a labourer to reach the school.
What made him maintain such attendance so religiously?
Omar gives the credit to his doting mother Noor Hashmi, who he says has always prodded him not to skip school.
"She has always been an inspiration," the boy said, pointing out that his younger brother - now in Class 10 - too has not missed a single day at school.
A cricket fan and a music lover, Omar has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for his unbroken school attendance of 14 years.
While Omar prefers calling his achievement "Allah ka karam" (grace of God), his teachers at the school are full of praise for his dedication.
Pradeep Gupta, one such teacher who helped him fill the online form for entry into the Guinness book, says he marvels at the boy.
"Hundred percent attendance for four years in school is no mean achievement," Gupta told IANS.
He said school authorities were in the process of providing cent-percent attendance certificates to Omar so that these could be sent to the Guinness office.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at email@example.com)
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