. Astha Bamba scored 497 of 500 and stood third in the country

Orthodox mindset on humanities needs to change, says AIR 3 Astha Bamba

A student from BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar of Ludhiana bagged All India third rank in class 12, the results for which were declared by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Saturday. Astha Bamba scored 497 of 500 and stood third in the country with 99.4 per cent marks in humanities stream. She scored a perfect hundred in three subjects- sociology, mass media and political science. In English and economics, she scored 99 and 98 respectively. But she believes that marks alone cannot be a parameter to judge someone’s capability. An avid reader and writer who wants to pursue journalism, Astha says that orthodox mindset of people in India regarding humanities stream also need to change. Scoring a hundred in mass media, she is keen on pursuing journalism but feels that TV journalism in India ‘lacks ethics’.

“I am happy getting an All India Rank but being a topper is just a label. There must be many students across the country who studied harder than me but could not score. Topper is just a tag which cannot be the only parameter to judge someone’s capabilities. I am happy with the score but the real challenge begins now. It is about what you learn and not how much you score,” she says.

Her parents- Adish Bamba and Seemaa Bamba run a tuition centre for English and Mathematics. Astha says that her choice to pursue humanities came from her passion for writing, reading and studying English Language. She also opted for Mass Media as one of the subjects because of her interest in writing, reading newspapers, political affairs and English language. 
“I would give credit to my mother who always encouraged me to write and read since the beginning. I closely follow national newspapers and online news websites. I write blogs and share my views on political happenings. I do not find them boring. I like to express myself on what is happening around. After completing my graduation in English honours or political science, I may pursue journalism or become a chef. The long-term goal is to work for the United Nations,” she says. 
“I depend on newspapers and online news websites because television journalism in India is clearly lacking ethics. Their content clearly lacks credibility and ethics. So I have been following The Hindu, The Indian Express and some other websites,” she says. “Though I have scored a perfect 100 in mass media, I did not get to learn enough from the subject about intricacies of journalism. Our books were quite outdated. Mass media syllabus needs to be updated,” she says. 
She also feels that orthodox views of people in India regarding humanities or arts stream need to change. “It is high time that this notion needs to change. In India people still say that arts or humanities is for dull or aimless students. My all five subjects were tough, which required a lot of hard work. My parents supported my decision to choose humanities. Of course, some relatives and other people said it is not the right decision but I was clear about it,” she says.

“All India third rank is good but it is not everything for me. The goal to succeed in life and make a difference has just started,” she said. Astha took tuition classes for political science and economics. “I was disheartened when economics paper was re-conducted due to leak. I was appalled at the system but then I still managed 98,” she says.

Paramjit Kaur, principal BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, speaking to The Indian Express said, “Certain stereotypes in minds of people for humanities stream should break after seeing these success stories. I am very proud of my students and our school has made humanities most sought by offering subjects like mass media. Students should be given an opportunity to express themselves and choose what they like.”