Media-shy Rumman Ashraf, the SSC topper from Sheikhpura aims to join the Indian Army

Sami Ahmed & Nikhat Fatima,

“It was Friday and we were preparing for Iftar. We got a call from the school that Rumman has secured the top position among more than 12 lakh successful candidates in the matriculation examination,” shared Rumman’s father with Bihar Board Class 10 topper Mohammad Rumman Ashraf is being lauded with appreciation and sought after for felicitation from all corners of his town Sheikhpura, which is the smallest district of Bihar.

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He scored 489 topping all the other 16 lakh students who appeared for SSC this year. Rumman had been previously enrolled in the prestigious Sainik School in class 6 where he scored the highest marks every year. However, when COVID-19 hit the entire nation in 2020 with schools functioning online, Rumman, like other children of his age had difficulty accessing online education. It was then that his father Mohammad Najibur Rahman took the transfer certificate and got him enrolled in the local school, Islamia High School in Sheikhpura.

“We waited for Iftar time as all of us including Rumman were fasting to share the sweets,” said the proud father, who is a teacher in a government school. His mother Shabnam Parveen is a home maker. Unlike other district toppers, Rumman’s family is social media shy and are requesting privacy from media organizations.

As his phone remains busy with congratulatory messages from relatives, friends, and acquaintances, even after two weeks of the results, Najib shared with that he has sent his son away to a relative’s house for safety. His family has particularly requested privacy from YouTubers and media persons who are hounding Rumman for interviews.

“Ours is a family of teachers,” said Najib while sharing that Rumman did not take the help of any tutorials but studied by himself, except for Urdu. His grandfather was also a teacher and “the secret of Rumman’s success is hard work and determination,” his father shared, beaming with happiness. Rumman stays away from social media which is why he could devote several hours in studies. However, he likes playing chess and watching cricket and football.

“He was somewhat weak in Urdu, so I arranged an Urdu teacher for him,” informed Najib. His son did did not count the hours of his studies but would take occasional breaks to watch a comedy show on the TV, he recalled.

Interestingly,Rumman wrote his exams in both English and in Hindi.  He wrote Mathematics and Science in the English language while he wrote the Social Sciences exams in Hindi.  The other three were languages Urdu, Hindi and English. With a daughter studying in class 7 in the same school, Najib said that his son Rumman will continue his studies in the same school with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with Mathematics as an optional subject.

“He wishes to join Indian Army but I am skeptical as his eyesight is not up to the mark of 6/6,” Najib said, adding that to avoid taking any risks, he is encouraging his son to study both Biology and Mathematics.