Rocking Way to Remember a People’s President

One school in Udupi remained open on a Sunday to pay a stunning tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

One school in Udupi remained open on Sunday, August 2, 2015 to pay homage to President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. For this, I congratulate Manjunath AV, the school principal. The school is Dr TA Pai English Medium High School, popularly known just as ‘EMHS’, at Kunjibettu, near Manipal.

A caveat: My wife and me consider him a rock star and are willing to go so far as to compare him with the People’s President.

The reason, from our own experience: Teachers at other schools in the district, like Madhava Kripa High School & Little Rock Indian High School—one run by corporates and other by missionaries—quickly write off poorly performing students (especially from poor families) and condemn and shame them day after day, attacking and diminishing their self-respect, and all this in front of their classmates. The classmates are often forced to make false complaints. The parents are called and pronounced guilty for their child’s performance.

Once, a class teacher told other students: “Don’t you know he is abnormal?”

Luckily, the ashamed student who almost pissed in his pants did not go to the nearest well or lock up himself in his room to commit suicide!

Such children are so shattered—even if he/she is brilliant and possesses other life skills—that he/she never recovers and performs badly in exams.

In one of the schools named above, one such student made a solar cooker which could be assembled for less than Rs 100 and with readily available materials—a cardboard sheet, silver foil and glue—for a science competition. This would be of immense help villagers in rural areas.

The teacher-judges gave a cursory glance from a window, did not ask the child about the project and gave the awards to standard projects done by ‘toppers’.

These schools only encourage students who are bright a good performers because the teachers cannot teach and satisfy a student’s curiosity.

For such schools, their sole aim lies in not in teaching but only in results, results and results! …and churning out robots with some fancy-looking papers. And, of course, making money…

Yes, there is literacy, but no education.

A teacher’s job is teach, even a poor student, and not let them down.

Principal Manjunath—who I referred to in the opening paragraphs—personally takes care of each student with care, encourages them, builds up their confidence, gives them equal, non-partisan attention; and then sends them out to face any adversity!

End result: A confident student performs well in the exams, makes parents proud and the society has found a new, confident citizen.

And Principal Manjunath’s job is not done with just ensuring that his students pass board exams with flying colours. He has to fend off know-all parents who want ‘educational tools’ like slide projectors and other modern gadgets. His philosophy: A human can teach better than any machine because personal touch and warmth to reach out to all students if more important.

Having lived in Hyderabad I have seen a lot of ‘eschools’ or ‘technoschools’ where they start preparing students for IITs etc., right from the eighth standard: yet, they are nothing but money-minting factories mass-producing literates, not educated human beings.

Manjunath Sir, please accept our humble salutes!

Like Dr APJ Kalam, you too are a gem. A Guru in the true sense!

We bow to you!

(PS: The story draws upon our personal experience with teachers in all the three schools named above with our son. For more, read:


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UP: Journalist’s Mother Murdered after Rape Bid

Yet, the death of the woman won’t be front page news or topic for prime time debate.

Outrage is a “state of mind”, as someone much celebrated and toasted by the mass media will put it.

After a journalist was beaten to pulp and a few days later burnt to death by policemen at the behest of a ruling party minister in Uttar Pradesh barely a few weeks ago, two policemen set afire a 40-year-old woman inside a police station the same state.

But what is worse that the policemen first snatched her jewellery and then attempted to rape the woman, who is the mother of a young journalist with a local vernacular newspaper.

Various newspapers did carry the story, but reports varied. One common theme was that she was set on fire for refusing a bribe.

While most of reports had cursory mention that the woman, identified as Nitu Dwivedi, was the mother of a journalist, some did not even bother to mention this.

The woman succumbed to burn injuries in the trauma centre of a hospital in state capital Lucknow this morning, latest reports said.

Police, as usual, claimed the woman committed self-immolation, but Dwivedi is quoted as having said in her dying declaration before a magistrate that the policemen took her to a room in the police station, snatched her jewellery and then tried to rape her.

When she resisted, they poured petrol on her and set her ablaze.

The woman’s son is a journalist with a local Hindi daily.

The woman had gone to the police station to enquire about her husband, Ram Narain Dwivedi, who was detained a day earlier after clashes in her Gaha village in Barabanki district following eve-teasing. The policemen first demanded a bribe and later committed the atrocities.

According to district superintendent of police Abdul Hamid, the two policemen were suspended and an inquiry was ordered.

Yet, the victim’s son identified as Santosh, said, “Suspension is not enough, the cops should be punished. The Barabanki Superintendent of Police is being biased and is trying to hush up the case.”

“Tyranny of distance” ensured that news story was buried in the inside pages, the state government’s response was not encouraging.

As expected, an apparently unconcerned minister in the state government, Mr Shivpal Yadav, made a template statement about the incident: “The entire incident will be probed and strict action will be taken against the guilty.”

Mr Shivpal Yadav is the uncle of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has been mum about the earlier incident as well.

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