Success story Lamya Majeed: Hijab-wearing girl bags seven gold medals

Amid the ongoing hijab row in Karnataka, another hijab-clad student Lamya Majeed from Karnataka has bagged seven gold medals and two cash prizes in M.Sc Botany at the 102nd convocation of the University of Mysore.

Majeed, a native of Mangalore district is currently working on her master’s thesis in the University of Mysore. She opted to study M.Sc Botany but didn’t have anything specific in her mind. As the years passed and she developed an interest in the subject and wants to engage in research works to help farmers.

Interested in plant pathology and plant disease, Lamya has also applied to go abroad for more research work, especially in the UK. She has also cleared the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE).

Speaking to THG, Lamya said, “I’m a very average student and didn’t expect to get this much. But I really like the subject and my dreams are to do research in the field of Life Sciences. I had good company with me who also had similar dreams are like-minded people. We would all support each other and some of my best friends were like good support for me. Particularly, my parents, they’re my greatest support.”

When asked if she faced any obstacles during her journey, the gold medalist said, “I didn’t face any obstacles from my family but some other people have done it. Especially, because I opted for regular science courses, you know, the general Indian mentality of engineering and medicine. So my subject wasn’t something that is kind of not even mainstream, especially in my family. There are not many like the people who have done BSc or MSc, everyone took. And people were like because I couldn’t study engineering, I took botany. It’s not something that was hyped, I would say, not the first choice for many people.”

But the good thing is, Lamya said, the environment in her university was really nice. “They really encouraged research. So, I am someone who wants to get into research, which is why I am doing botany. It was a risky move in a way that you know, most of us are expected to just like go into teaching, or do this thing. I want to continue doing a Ph.D.,”

The 23-year-old topper wants to encourage to people to come in this field because basic sciences and research is something that is a thought like only certain section certain people can do but “it’s obtainable and not out of reach for not general public. An average person can dream of being a scientist or researcher,” she said.

With a percentage of 86 in her Pre University Exam and interest in biology, people expected Lamya to go into medicine. She said, “But that was not where my interest was. I have massive respect for whoever takes medicine but it was not for me.”

“I wasn’t really sure what a gold medal is, who select it or how do they select, nothing. It was actually a shock for me because one of my friends called me early in the morning and asked did you see they released the gold medalists’ names and your name is there several times on the list. I was like, oh my god, it was completely unexpected. My parents are so proud of me,” she told THG, when asked what was her reaction when she first got to know that she bagged 7 gold medals.

Daughter of a retired employee of Bharat petroleum, Lamya has worn hijab all her life, and never faced any problem at all. She said, “I have worn hijab and never faced any problem even now.”

“I really don’t want to comment on this (hijab controversy) although, I’m just upset that it has happened. I don’t really want to say anything I’m just wearing that itself is a statement,” Lamya said she doesn’t want to engage in the hijab dialogue.

Further talking of her future plans, she said, “I want to do PhD and become a research scientist in Plant Sciences. So right now I am in the University of Mysore working in the final year of my master’s thesis. I am currently working on that but in the meantime, I have been writing competitive exams. I’m trying to trying to build a portfolio so I can apply for PhD. I would either study here or even abroad because the opportunities are there in many places. I’m just seeing where I can fit the best.”

Conveying a message to especially young girls, the golden girl from coastal Karnataka said that they should trust themselves. “Girls should believe in their own worth and believe that they are as capable as anyone in their peers.”

When we feel like we are not being provided with the right opportunities, or we are not being taken seriously compared to others then we should take a stand because we are worth just as anyone else,” she adding that when given opportunies, “we can do so much more.”

“I believe everyone deserves the rights and opportunities that should be available to every child, regardless if they’re a boy or girl or trans or whatever they are. I want them to feel like they are deserving of every opportunity, deserving of love. They should feel that way and work towards their goals. They should believe in themselves, no matter who they are, and work towards their dream. If they trust themselves in the long run, no matter what people say, they’ll have themselves.”

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