Introduction In an early article by this author, he had highlighted the stupendous work done by a poor 85 plus man, in offering food in the form a decent meal, for Rs.10, near one of the bus stations in Madurai city. The second reference was to the fabulous work done by Dr. Shantha, the Chief of the famous Adayar Cancer Institute, in Chennai, now known as one of the best in Asia, for cancer treatment.
We would now focus on commendable work being done by two more women, in two different fields, one in education in a primary school in a village and another in a village in Karnataka, by preserving the environment.
The Government schools in Tamil Nadu lack basic facilities. An increasingly large number of parents from all economic classes put their children only in private schools. But there are selfless angles who do work that none in the private sector would do. It is just not only education. It is a whole package of character building, innovative teaching, the environment for good learning and so on. The first case study presented here is all about someone who has been totally selfless. Someone who has innovated on what can be done with her own money and with limited resources and has transformed a primary Government school in a village. The second case study is from Published data, from a very recent Tamil publication. It is about a lady who goes on to win the Padmashri for her highly commendable work. The two case studies are presented here, and the references are also given.
Selflessness of a Unique kind -- get to know T.J. Bhuvaneshwari What is now in the news is the agitation of Government teachers in Tamil Nadu. The State Government has sought to present a counter-narrative, explaining the high salaries already being given to even elementary teachers. This has created among the public, who are now against the very same agitations of the teachers.
It is against this background that we come across a video on Youtube that bears this reference. It is VID-20190318-WA0015.mp4. The entire video is in Tamil. Readers who know Tamil can easily follow it. Those who cannot follow it can possibly take the help of someone who knows Tamil to understand it. However, beyond language, the visuals are so powerful to convey the exact meaning. Nannadu is a small village, around 4.5 kilometers from the town of Villupuram, which is around 160 kilometers from Chennai, the State Capital. In this small village, in the Koliyanur block of Villupuram district, is a primary school. Villupuram is a district headquarters town.
Ms. T.J. Bhuvaneshwari is the headmistress of this school. She has done something that is simply out-of-the-box and selfless in every sense of the word. For example, she is the catalyst for starting the L.K.G and U.K.G classes, without any Government support. She has a portion of her own salary and has motivated her other teachers to also do so. She has appointed a teacher to take care of children of these classes. Apart from this, she herself prepares a herbal health drink that is very tasty and gives to every student, once in a week. Not satisfied with what is taught in the syllabus, she takes it on herself to teach all the extra knowledge. Her teachers also do the same. Knowing full well that only motivation of children can work, she conducts competitions and gives a small award to each student. She conducts competitions for all parents too. To take care of the hygiene of the students, she has installed an R.O water facility in the school, so that students get good purified water. Every single parent in the locality is motivated to put his son or daughter in the school.
Birthdays are celebrated but she discourages the use of chocolates that can cause health problems to children. She encourages the students to sing the birthday song in Tamil and distributes candies to each student on that day. Festivals are celebrated with rigor and happiness. She ensures that the mid-day meals is very tasty and first feeds the children. She then takes the same food with the teachers. She leads by example in whatever she does. For example, to create a friendly atmosphere, she has introduced the smiley badge for children. She is also selfless. She attributes her success to her teachers, in public. She also thanks whatever little she gets from voluntary agencies. Motivated by what they see as her stupendous contribution, there are so many others who also chip in and teach the children whatever they can on a regular basis.
How often do we see such teachers? Please do notice that she spends her own money as well. This Good Samaritan needs appreciation from all quarters. This is exactly what selfless leaders do. This is exactly what gives big hope to the society, where corruption, deceit, stabbing people on the back and politics is so common. As long as such teachers are there, there is always some hope. It is our duty to encourage such people in whatever little ways we can. The best that we can do is to donate some infrastructure, such as computers or provide internet facilities to such children. When we do this, we can feel happy. It should be noted that such donations do not cost as our fortune. It is nothing but showing our caring and sharing behaviors.
The motivated environmentalist The full details of what Ms. Chalumarada Thimmakka, how 105 years old, is something unheard of in recent times. She has won the Padmashri award and she went on to bless the present President of India, Shri Ramnath Govind. She does not have any birth certificate to prove her age but claims that she was born in 1928, in the "tumakuru" district of Karnataka, in a place called Kuppi. Her story and interview have been just published in the Tamil fortnightly magazine called Mangaiyar malar, a leading woman's magazine from the famous Kalki group of Tamil Nadu. (issue dated April 1-15, 2019, pages 80-81.
Over to Ms. Thimmakka. She was fed up with her life, as even after 25 years, she and her husband did not have a child. Both of them were landless laborers. She jumped into a deep well but was saved since she fell on the branch of a tree, within the well. When she survived, she decided that she would plant thousands of trees. She had settled in Huligal, a small village. She then took it on herself to plant trees on the way to Hadur, a nearby town. In the first year, she planted 10 banyan trees, which are capable of giving great shade. The count increased to 15 the next year and to 20 the next. In this fashion, she had planted 385 trees on the entire stretch. Today, the highway is a green paradise, due to Thimmakka and her husband. Apart from the banyan trees. she went on to plant another eight thousand trees all over the place. She lost her husband in the year 1991. However, she went on to continue her work. Visitors come all the way to her house and seek her blessings. She is known far beyond her village now.
This is exactly why she has now received the Padma Shri award. The BBC has honored her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She has now formed a trust to construct a hospital in her village.
She is the epitome of simplicity, even at this age, and lives on an Rs.500 monthly pension now. What is amazing is the determination of this old lady. She is the tallest Good Samaritan in protecting the environment. It goes without saying that she would be instrumental in the area receiving more rainfall than is normal. Let us salute this brave woman, and get to do something very similar.
Conclusion Two Good Samaritans. In two different fields. We need to salute such selfless women and also focus on their work. We need to emulate them in whatever little ways we can.