Indian professor Germany’s youngest university chief:
Joybrato Mukherjee, a
36-year-old professor of English whose parents immigrated from
India, became Germany’s youngest chief.....
Meet R.K. Rai, a scholar extraordinary. Over the years he has
acquired MA degrees in 22 subjects, five PhDs and three D.Lits. But
at the age of 65, he wants more.
is a retired professor and resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur
district, some 280 km from Lucknow.
firmly believe learning is a life-long process. Just following this
principle, I acquired all my degrees and want to continue studies so
long as I am alive,” Rai told IANS on phone from Ghazipur.
believe I haven’t done anything extraordinary…Anyone having the urge
for learning can do it,” he added.
seems Rai’s urge for learning new subjects is unending as the
retired professor from Magadh University in Gaya, Bihar, has now
enrolled for another masters programme that will give him his 23rd
am at present pursuing MA in astrology from a renowned and one of
the most ancient universities of the world, Sampurnanand Sanskrit
Vishwavidyalaya, Varanasi,” said Rai, who lives in the Mohamdabad
area in Ghazipur.
completed his graduation in 1967 from Allahabad University.
has acquired most of his additional degrees by appearing as a
private candidate in several universities, including Panjab
University, Chandigarh; Veer Kunwar Singh University, Ara, Bihar;
Patna University; and Kanpur University.
of the subjects in which Rai acquired MAs include ancient history,
modern history, sociology, political science, economics, education,
Hindi, Sanskrit, geography and psychology.
Rai’s PhDs are in education, ancient history, philosophy, Hindi and
commerce, while he possesses D.Lit in three languages - Hindi,
Sanskrit and Prakrit.
majority of his subjects Rai has scored a first division or a good
second division (55-59 percent). For this Rai gives credit to his
remember how my colleagues used to help me out when I had problems
in the subjects…It was just like private tuitions…They also used to
visit my home a day before the examinations to wish me good luck and
give tips for attempting questions in their subjects,” Rai said.
is also thankful to his family members, who encouraged him to pursue
my family members, particularly my wife and daughter, ensured I get
enough time to study…For that they even used to do the work that I
was supposed to do,” Rai said.
has now joined a private degree college in the Bulandshahr district,
some 400 km from Lucknow.
“Though I have joined the college as a principal, I prefer taking
classes to sitting inside my cabin and looking after the
administrative work of the college,” said Rai, who is principal of
the Kaka P.G. Girls’ College.
Bulandshahr district and his home district Ghazipur, Rai is famous
“Most of us in the locality send our children to Raiji’s home when
he comes here on leave. During that period, Raiji’s residence
appears to be a coaching institute,” said Sandeep Tayal, a resident
Another resident Bhagunath Yadav said: “The best thing about Raiji
is that he never gets frustrated when students fail to understand a
topic explained by him. My son, who is pursuing MA in Sanskrit, told
me of how Raiji explained a topic to him for nearly two hours.”
(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at