An 11-year-old boy on Saturday stole the limelight in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's ancestral village of Kalyan Bigaha in Nalanda district by grabbing the visiting dignitary's attention in the midst of a large crowd, and sought support for his education.
The Chief Minister was in Kalyan Bigaha, on the death anniversary of his wife Manju Sinha, whose statue he garlanded inside a park named after his father Kaviraj Ramlakhan Singh.
He was passing through a barricaded pathway, waving at people and accepting petitions from those who wanted to bring their grievances to his notice when the boy, who lives in a nearby village under the same Harnaut block as Kalyan Bigaha, called out to him with folded hands.
"Sir, I need your support for my education. My father does not help me," cried Sonu Kumar.
The Chief Minister's then ordered the officials accompanying him to listen to the child.
Vaibhav Srivastava, the Deputy Development Commissioner who is officiating as the District Collector, heard the story of the child, accompanied by a village elder who vouched for the boy's "meritoriousness".
"I study at a government school. The teaching standards are pathetic. My mathematics teacher has a problem with numbers and cannot manage basic English," said Sonu.
The boy said he aspires to join the civil services, but poor standard of education and apathy of his family came in his way.
"My father sells dairy items for a living. But he could not care less about my education. Whatever he earns he squanders on liquor and toddy," the child alleged, in what could be an embarrassment for the Chief Minister's much-touted prohibition drive.
The boy, who studies in Class 6, said he was already giving tuitions to those junior to him to support himself.
People on social media criticised what they said was sad state of primary education in Bihar, while some expressed hope that the boy would get the opportunity to realise his potential.