LUCKNOW: A 14-year-old Dalit boy, born and brought up in a remote village of western Uttar Pradesh, has suddenly turned angrez . Rajesh, without any evident help, has started speaking fluently in English and does so with a proper American drawl. And that’s not all: He seems to have forgotten how to speak Hindi.
Wonders do not cease with this: His knowledge of physics and mathematics has left engineering students baffled. Having already penned three books, Rajesh is now looking forward to some research work.
All of this may sound like a Bollywood script on one of its favourite themes, reincarnation. However, Rajesh, a resident of a nondescript village 40 km from Saharanpur, refuses to call it so.
In his words: "There is no concept of reincarnation. It is just that memory can’t be destroyed till there are sound waves in the world."
And this is the area of science that interests Rajesh the most. "He has already written three documents, one on memory, the other on sociology and the third on liberalisation," said an excited Shishu Pal Singh Verma, principal of Willian Jefferson Clinton Science and Technology Centre, where Rajesh was enrolled last year.
"I did not take him seriously for a few months but on Republic Day, while the students were reciting poetry before the entire college, Rajesh took the mike and addressed the gathering in fluent English. This left us almost shell-shocked," says Shishu Pal.
Rajesh’s mother Omkali and 16-year-old brother Kaluwa are daily wage labourers who earn just enough to manage two square meals a day. His father Sompal is mentally-challenged. Asked how and when these changes came into Rajesh, Omkali said that it happened almost a year ago when Rajesh was helping Kaluwa erect a wall.
"Every time the brothers brought the wall up to two feet, their father would smash it. Irritated, Rajesh threw a brick at him who was hit in the head and began to bleed.”
This left Rajesh dumbfounded. "For the next three months, he did not utter a single word. When he did, it was not in Hindi," said Jamal, a resident of Saharanpur.