Banna Gupta inaugurates the Sarathi Diwas at Kerala Public School, Kadma, on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
It is not always that you get to thank the men behind the wheels, people who race against the clock to get you to classes safe secure and on time.
On Wednesday, the students of Kadma-based Kerala Public School did, however, during Sarathi Diwas — a daylong programme organised to recognise the contributions of van and auto-rickshaw drivers who ferried students to and fro daily.
The event, the fifth time the school had celebrated it in as many years, was graced by Jamshedpur (west) MLA Banna Gupta as its chief guest.
Sources said the school, which recognises the drivers as sarathis (Sanskrit for charioteer), had conceptualised the idea five years ago to felicitate the vehicle operators annually for contributing to the values of punctuality and politeness among children.
“Children learn moral values from everything they see around them. Apart from parents and teachers, the vehicle drivers who ferry children to and from school also play an role in a student’s life,” said teacher Seema Singh, who co-ordinated the programme.
She added that their main focus was on punctuality.
“We have generally noticed that the behaviour of the drivers affects students. Like if a driver is late in the morning, the students tend to get lethargic. They wake up late and get dressed up for school slowly. However, a punctual driver ensures that the students are ready for school before he arrives for picking them up,” Singh explained.
The event, attended by more than 40 vehicle operators, had a number of cultural programmes lined up in it.The school management also feted two of the oldest drivers present at the occasion.
Among the list of events held during the day was a quiz, where eight drivers, divided into four teams of two each pitted their grey cells against each other on the stage.
The teams, officials said, were named Nishtha (dedication), Dhairya (patience), Acharan (behaviour) and Nirmaan (constructive) after the four qualities the school expected its sarathis to adhere to.
The school, also used the event to spread awareness about safety, pollution and environment conservation, with the students tying a thread, called suraksha sutra, on the wrists of the drivers later as a sign of friendship.