A girl in Orissa's Bhadrak district has cleared the class X examination - a feat no girl of her village has achieved so far.
The Belagadia village, some 150 km from the state capital of Bhubaneswar, has around 800 residents comprising mostly farmers. It does not have a school.
Jharana Sahu used to walk almost four km every day to study at a high school in nearby Kalupur village. "Jharana successfully cleared the class X examination conducted by the state's Board of Secondary Education (BSE)," Rabindra Jena, a villager, told IANS.
Jharana is the first girl to have cleared the examination from her village since independence, he said.
Jharana's father Shankarshan Sahu works as a cultivator. She has a sister and two brothers.
The villagers celebrated the girl's success by organising a grand function Monday, a week after this year's class X results were declared.
Jharana was garlanded and a community feast held as part of the celebrations.
The villagers also facilitated Pradeep Kumar Jena, the first graduate from the village. Jena did his graduation in Arts from Paliabindha College, some 20 km from the village.
"We are happy that we have a girl who passed the matriculation (Class X) examination and a boy who has become a graduate. Although at least 13 students have cleared the class X exam since independence, the all were boys," said a villager.
Jharana is happy that she passed the exam in her first attempt. "I could have done better if we could afford a tutor."
She wants to pursue higher studies and is seeking admission at a college in a nearby village. Her father said: "My daughter has done us proud. I will try my best to let her study as long as she wants. I want to see her as a graduate."
Pradeep too has plans of pursuing his post-graduation and has applied for admission in a city college.