At 64, ex-IAF man goes back to college

By Asit Srivastava, IANS
Monday, November 22, 2010

ROBERTSGANJ - He is a retired Indian Air Force (IAF) serviceman with two grown-up sons who are well settled. Yet, Meerut native Jaigopal Tiwari has gone back to college at the ripe old age of 64 - thanks to his passion for learning and for helping spread awareness of basic laws among poor people.

Tiwari is studying at Deena Ram Public Law College, Robertsganj, in Sonbhadra district.

“I strongly believe there’s no age for learning. The urge to learn more and more has made me a student in this phase of life when people of my age prefer taking rest,” Tiwari told IANS on telephone from Sonbhadra, some 350 km from Lucknow.

“Frankly speaking, after enrolling myself as a student, I feel the good old college days are back. I feel quite fortunate to get a chance to enjoy the college days for a second time… the company of friends, hanging out with them at canteens…I am enjoying all this. It all makes me feel younger and energetic,” he added.

Tiwari joined the IAF as an aircraftsman in 1963, but took voluntary retirement when he was a corporal in 1978 due to family obligations.

He has no regret about leaving the service. “It would have been good if I had continued with the service. But still I have no regrets, as I got the opportunity to participate in the India-Pakistan wars in 1965 and 1971…It makes me satisfied.”

Tiwari, who already had a BA degree from Karnataka University, cleared the entrance test of the Deena Ram Public Law College and is at present in the fourth semester of LLB.

“Frankly speaking, after having served the country and shouldering my family responsibilities, I have now got the time to fulfil my wish of learning,” said Tiwari, who has two sons who are well settled.

“For the LLB entrance test, I worked very hard. I remember my wife used to sit with me and help me make preparation notes,” he recalled.

On why he preferred law, Tiwari said: “In my life, I have come across several occasions that made me realise the importance of law. I personally feel it (a law course) gives you the knowledge of implementing a number of tools that our constitution provides to everyone of us. Most of us are even not aware about the basic principles of law.

“As a result, even after having certain tools, we cannot apply them to safeguard us. I am not sure I will be able to do it or not, but I wish to do a bit of social service by making the poor aware about basic laws.”

Tiwari, who is originally a native of Swarajyapath town in Meerut, has taken a room in Sonbhadra to pursue his studies.

His dedication has also made him a model to his fellow-students, who freely consult him for various study-related as well as other problems.

“His seriousness towards studies can be gauged from the fact that he has left his home to pursue LLB. He is punctual in class. It’s great to be friends with a person like him,” said Tript Chaubey, Tiwari’s batchmate.

Hans Raj Kamal, another LLB student, said: “He is more experienced than us. Not only study-related, we turn to him whenever we face any type of problem in the life.”

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at

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