We discussed a great deal about Objectives, Goals, Mission and Vision for the NGO formation in the last few months with Rewa and Abhishek. I still recognize Abhishek only by his voice or mail. He was using the word “Education” frequently during telephonic talk and convincing me about “The power of Education and its dimensions”.
I ponder over the said word and am reminded of the time when I was in class 6th. Our English teacher, Shri Upadhyay Sir, once asked me on the playground at Korha (later it was shifted to Kolasi), “Pranay, can you name the arm that can be used to fight against all ill”? I was dull and poor in English. I knew nothing in English except to say that I didn’t know, and obviously that was my answer. Sir answered, “Education. Education is the powerful tool that can be used to wrestle against all ill… even for… social injustice….Education can be continued in the society through organizations… People come and go but organization survives…. Organization forms from thoughts… You can kill a man but not his thoughts. Thought originates from intellect, and survives through Education…” This all bounced over me and it was just bak-bak at that time.
Today when I am re-calling that event, I can’t help writing about one of my batch mates, Mukun Deo Mandal, a cool, calm, gentle-looking, clean-hearted boy. He belonged to the rural background. His father was an illiterate farmer. Our 7th class exam had got over. School got closed for two months (the summer vacation) and for those two months, we had to perform some noble jobs as a part of our project. I collected some photos of freedom fighters erratically. Most of other students collected different types of Plants, Insects, Butterflies and made herbarium/catalog (beautiful insects were killed and pinned). Deepanawita Sinha taught Oriya to her maid servant. I think it was all nonsense and rubbish actually. Two months later Mukun Deo Mandal came empty hands. He had nothing to show for his project work.
On the last Sunday of every month, we had parents-day. As usual, parents were coming to meet their children. We were given duties as student-volunteers. We were on the announcement table. Mukun Deo Mandal was called and told that his father had come and was waiting for him. He was requested to come to the multipurpose hall and see his father. He went to the hall to attend to his father. As usual, Shri Y K Sinha Sir, the art teacher, opened the ink pad for taking the thumb impression of his father. Surprisingly, his father took pen and duly signed against the column for guardians. Shri Y K Sinha Sir saw the broken letters in the signature and mumbled “Eureka”. His father told that Mukun had taught him the alphabets and digits during the summer vacation, and that now he was able to understand Hindi, and was no more illiterate.
I have been informed by a batch mate that Mukun has become a Govt. school teacher now. I don’t have any contact with Mukun Deo Mandal for the last 12 years, but the gentle and innocent face always swims in my mind and inspires me.
I keep thinking of the different dimensions of the word uttered by Abhishek and try to correlate them with this real-life story.
JNV kolasi, katihar
Lecturer, Bhagalpur University,