The legacy of a school head, who worked for people beyond the four walls of a classroom, is being carried forward by the school, its students and his family.
Chowringhee High School held a relief camp in the Sunderbans in the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas and was able to raise Rs 2.5 lakh within days for the mission.
Perminder Dasani, the former administrator of the school who succumbed to Covid in December 2020, had visited the Sunderbans with relief materials after Cyclone Amphan last year. And his daughters thought he would have wanted to do the same if he were alive.
In staying true to the image of “a small school with a big heart”, a team from the school and some former students went to Kultali last week with two trucks filled with ration and tarpaulins. They distributed the relief materials among the residents there.
A team from the school distributes the material at the camp in Kultali, Sunderbans. Telegraph Picture
Funds started to pour in as soon as Dasani’s younger daughter Nishita posted a message on social media. “...In these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic when the entire nation is struggling with medical crises, people in…the Sunderbans have lost their shelters and are facing food shortage again. We carried out a similar project last year in June as well after the devastation caused by cyclone ‘Amphan’ under the guidance of our beloved Johnny Sir (Perminder Dasani)...In such humanitarian crisis Lotus Mission (a club) of Chowringhee High School is planning to work once again for the homeless victims. I...request you to help us on whatever way possible to carry out this initiative, because as our late Johnny Sir always said ‘alone we can do little, but together we can do so much’.” her post said.
The Sindhis of Calcutta an association, supported the school in its endeavour.
“He (Dasani) extensively worked there last year and we know that he would have reached out even this year. He had always inspired his students to do community work and even when he is not among us they have come forward,” said Harshita Dasani, the principal of the school and his wife.
While the alumni group contributed financially to the cause, the present students helped with packing of the ration bags.
A Class XII student, Tony Sharma, had accompanied Dasani last year. He went this year too.
“He always said that we should do whatever little we can,” said Sharma.
“When we went there we understood the plight of these people. Even their livelihood has been impacted because of the stagnant water caused by the storm,” said Nishita.
Dasani’s elder daughter, Twinkle, has left her job to help her mother run the school. She is the secretary of the school.
Dasani passed away in December but from January itself the school and his family has been carrying on all the projects that he had started.
Even when he was in hospital last year, he had spearheaded the blanket distribution on Christmas, an annual event in the school calendar.
“We have not stopped any of his projects which includes feeding the poor, organising blood donation camps or providing stationery to the children of a village he had adopted. We have to continue his work,” said Harshita Dasani.