The Telegraph
Friday , January 28 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teaching for the love of it
- 72-yr-old teaches kids for free to eradicate illiteracy

Kendrapara, Jan. 27: For septuagenarian, Paravati Mohanty educating small children is her passion. In a bid to eradicate illiteracy the 72-year-old widow has been teaching as an honorary teacher at Patapur village under Aul block headquarters. Since 1964, she is pursuing this mission with a rare zeal in the village school for the last five decades.

The free service rendered by Parvati has made her the darling of the village. Her endeavour is a boon for the school, which has often been hit by staff shortage. Many of her students are now well settled with and one of them is Pitambar Das who is presently officiating as the headmaster of the school.

“She is loved and respected by everyone in the village. She is an excellent teacher and an expert in handling and motivating small children. She arrives on time and teaches Class I and Class II students respectively,” says Das.

Das also says that Parvati had taught him and he fondly remembers the Oriya and grammar lessons taught by her. “That was in 1968,” says the headmaster adding that the school had sought special permission from the government so that Parvati could teach in the school. The government was so impressed with her selfless service that it accorded permission promptly.

“I did my schooling only up to Class VI. Early marriage stopped my to do further studies. But I continued to study at home and nursed the desire to teach deprived children. I am teaching here since the days when the school was running in a thatched house. Then it was called ‘chatsali,” said Parvati reminiscing her early days as a teacher in the school. “An inherent urge drove me to teach children. This gives me a pleasure, which cannot be measured in terms of wealth. This is something entirely different,” said the gracious woman adding that she would continue the mission till the end of her life.

“I feel I have succeeded in my mission. My two daughters are graduates they are married and well settled. Many of my students have attained a good position in life. Although my husband is no more, his inspiration continues to guide me,” said Parvati now in the twilight of his life. “Much before the government decided to enact a legislation to make primary education mandatory for children Parvati had taken a vow to educate and turn them into better citizens. However, the irony is that she remains unnoticed and unsung despite her signal contribution to the cause of universalising education,” said Pramod Mallick, a local resident.

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