Ms. Sheela Sharma, Salute the Dedicated Teacher

Very often we hear from the educated middle class of India, mostly people like us, how bad systems in this country are. Nothing can happen here. Many of us move to greener pastures of US, UK, Canada, Australia and so on. We hardly try to do something to make the difference on our own, let alone be the change. We lack initiative and give up too early. May be we are not motivated enough, may be we lack imagination. Our education has taught us mostly to become an employee and not an innovator. So instead of thinking out of the box and taking a risk, we prefer to take up a regular job.

As part of teachers day initiative, I was reading in Hindustan Times (Saturday, 05 Sep, 2015) about Ms. Sheela Sharma. Ms. Sharma joined a primary school in Udaipur district of Rajasthan in 1992 as a teacher. As part of infrastructure, school had a dilapidated building, a few broken tables and chairs as furniture. The school was in a tribal dominated area. We know how city folks act in such a situation. Many government employees just show up on the pay day to collect their salary and do not come for rest of the month. Not Sheila Sharma. Ms. Sharma took initiative to not only teach but to instil a sense of hygiene and cleanliness among children. She forced students to take a bath before starting teaching. She would buy soap, shampoo and otherr items from her own salary, which was a princely sum of Rs. 2100. A school that started with broken tables and chairs, today runs on a 5 bigha land. Ms. Sharma is the principal of the school. 

What Ms. Sharma did, she did not have to do. She worked without arc light of TV camera or a photographers camera flashing on her.  Ms. Sharma did what she did because she loved her work and felt it was her duty. She did not expect any credit, at least not when she started her work. Otherwise, she would have given up long time before. It is because of people like Ms. Sharma, India is still a functional country. We mostly hear of crime, we hear of corruption. We hear common people asking “what is in it for me?” People like Ms. Sharma, and many others like her, never ask “What India could do for them?” Instead,  Ms. Sharma, and her ilk, showed what they could do for the nation. My salute to Ms. Sharma and many teachers like her who are serving our country quietly, in a dedicated manner with dignity.

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