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Wife’s days as teacher

Birsingha, July 24: Residents of this small hamlet in West Midnapore recollected the six months Suvra Mukherjee, the First Lady to be, spent with them four decades ago.

Suvra, a history graduate, joined Birsingha Vidyasagar Balika Vidyalaya in February 1971 and taught the subject along with occasional classes on English grammar till August.

“Seniors would often tell me that apart from taking classes on history and English grammar, Suvra Mukherjee would sit with students and sing along Rabindrasangeet,” said Meera Roy, the headmistress of the school.

The village Birsingha also has another claim to fame. It is the birthplace of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and the school where Suvra taught was founded by him in 1853.

Sanat Singha, who taught along with Suvra, said her son Abhijit and daughter Sharmishtha accompanied her to the village.

“Abhijit was then in Class VII and Sharmistha was a primary school student. While Abhijit was admitted to Birsingha Bhagabati High School, Sharmistha took admission in the village primary school. I taught her for sometime. Pranabbabu was a Rajya Sabha MP then and he would often shuffle between Birsingha and Delhi. The family intermingled easily with the villagers,” Singha said.

Another employee of the school, Krishnapada Ghosh, said he had rented a portion of his house to Suvra.

Krishnapada’s mother Kamala, now in her late nineties, said: “At times, Suvra would tell me aaj apnar hatey khabo (today we will have food cooked by you). Initially, I used to hesitate because she came from a Brahmin family. But she was so endearing that we began to treat her like another member of the family.”

Meena Palmal, one of Suvra’s students, said her teacher had persuaded parents to admit their daughters to school.