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December 8, 1999
A Master at twelve
Soroor Ahmed in Patna
When creating world records becomes a habit, one's feats cease to make news. So when Tathagat Avatar Tulsi passed his MSc examination at the age of 12 last week, the Patna dailies relegated the news to brief items on the inside pages. No follow-up stories, no special features, nothing.
The chubby Tinku -- Tathagat's his pet name -- passed Class 10 when he was nine and then went on to complete his graduation (Physics Honours) a year later. That was when he was splashed across the front pages. Now his achievements are taken for granted.
Tataghat, who turned 12 on September 9, may soon go to California for higher studies. He secured 71 per cent marks in his Masters, but has applied for a re-evaluation.
Tathagat's father, Tulsi Narayan Prasad, told rediff.com that his son is not a bookworm. "He studies for only three to four hours a day," he said.
And while physics is certainly one of his favourite subjects, his knowledge of computer science and his felicity with English is also formidable. He has already authored two books, on electrogravity unification and energy loss.
His proud father is willing to take all the credit for his son's genius. "I programmed his birth. It's all about astroscience, genetics and ancient Indian sex theory," said Prasad, who is a consultant on genetics and sexology. "What you need is the right mood, right diet, right planetary positions and the right receptor," he said.
Tathagat, which means 'a learned person', has won several awards including the National Child Award, the Pride of India Award, the Delhi Gaurav Award and the Bal Ratan Award. Besides, the then chief minister, Laloo Prasad Yadav, presented him a computer worth Rs 80,000 in 1996.
His name also figures in the Guinness Book of World Records. He broke the record of John Lubo, who did his BA (Philosophy) at the age of 12 years and eight months.
This child prodigy deserves another award -- for relentlessly having rules bent to allow him to facilitate his quick progress through school and then college.
He and his father knocked the doors of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former human resources development minister S R Bommai, the Central Board of Secondary Education chairman and other senior officials to get permission to appear for his class 10 exam.
They couldn't help. It was the courts that finally came to his rescue. They came to his rescue once again when he wanted to appear for the graduation exam.
For his MSc, he got special permission from the governor, who is also the chancellor of the universities of Bihar.
The Prasads are thankful to noted lawyer and Union minister Ram Jethmalani, film star Shatrughan Sinha and former chief justice of Patna High Court Justice Sarwar Ali for encouraging the youngest of the three sons to achieve this feat.
Apart from these three, hardly anyone was prepared to believe in Tathagat's extraordinary talent, said Prasad.
"The manner in which I had to run from pillar to post in Delhi for getting permission for Tataghat to appear for his CBSE examination is really shameful. A top official even derided me for making such fantastic claims,'' Prasad said.
With little encouragement from society, Tathagat and his father have decided they have no option but head for foreign shores.
"He has already got several offers," his father said. And if things go right for Tathagat, he might even end up the youngest PhD ever.
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