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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Hoping to pass - at 35th attempt
Shyoram Yadav
Mr Yadav says he will remain a bachelor until he passes
A 68-year-old man is preparing to take his secondary school exam in India - for the 35th time.

Shyoram Yadav, from the village of Tasing in Rajasthan, has been trying to pass the exam since 1969.

He has vowed to remain unmarried until he does.

"Education is everything in life," Mr Yadav told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"Education rules the world: education is supreme even among your own brothers, your own society, your government, and abroad."

Tripped up

So far, Mr Yadav has failed a different subject each year.

He doesn't want help from anyone and he'd never copy anyone else's work
Lekhraj, old exam colleague

He says that when he attempts to improve on a failed exam the following year, another subject trips him up.

Clad in traditional Indian dress, he walks about three kilometres from his village to Tasing's secondary school every day.

Vice-principal Devi Singh Yadav says that when he first met Shyoram in 1999, he thought he was a guardian of one of the children.

"Mr Shyoram was walking quickly towards the exam room and a few children were also on their way there," he recalled.

"I stopped him and said only children would be allowed in, not parents, but to my surprise Shyoram told me he was an examinee himself.

"I did not believe him and asked him to produce his admission letter. When he showed me the letter, all the school staff gathered around and it became a major issue for us to discuss."

Hopeful villagers

Mr Yadav has been a regular examinee at the school since that day five years ago.

Shyoram Yadav sits his exam
Mr Yadav's efforts are supported by all in his village

Everyone in the education department in his district knows him because he has appeared at every exam centre around Alwar.

Mr Yadav's fellow villagers are hopeful he will pass this year.

"It was his wish to pass the grade 10 exam and then to get married, but so far God has not favoured him," Hanuman Goyal, also from Tasing, who took the same exam as Mr Yadav some years ago, told Outlook.

"He has attempted the exam 33 or 34 times. Let us see whether his wish will be granted this time."

However, as time wears on things become harder for Mr Yadav. At the age of 68, he now suffers from a hearing problem.

However, he remains determined to achieve his goal.

Lekhraj, an old learning colleague who took exams with Mr Yadav in 1972, praises his dedication.

"He wants to pass the exam on his own. He doesn't want help from anyone and he'd never copy anyone else's work," he says.

"That's why we respect him."

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