Education is a privilege, not all are fortunate enough to be granted. Nanda Prusty, a 103-year-old village school teacher from Jajpur, Odisha, has been providing free education to underprivileged students since independence. Popularly known as Nanda Sir, he has taught multiple generations of the same families in his village. On the 72nd Republic Day of India, his life long effort was eventually recognized by the Government of India, when he was conferred with the highest honour of Padma Shri Award on 26th January 2021.
Journey of Nanda Prusty
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Standing the test of time, Nanda Prusty has been imparting education, free of cost, since 1946. Many families in his village have benefitted from his noblest deed of educating the poor and underprivileged students of the society. With the mission to eradicate illiteracy from his village, Nanda Prusty has provided his services uninterruptedly for the last seven decades!
Nanda Prusty has kept the tradition of Chatashali alive, which is an informal form of pre-primary education, under which he teaches Odhia alphabets and basic mathematics. The villagers were mostly illiterate and poor and could not even sign their name. So began his mission of educating the villagers to read and write in their mother tongue.
Mark of Nanda’s endeavour on his students
Speaking to OTV, one of his student shares that he, his father, his children and his grandchildren, all have received education from Nanda Sir and how it is so emotional to learn that his teacher has received the highest honour. Nanda Prusty intends to educate the children until his last breath. Speaking to OTV he says that he is very proud to receive the award and is very thankful. He further states that he considers his duty as his reward and is never tired of it.
A 98-year-old village school teacher from Jajpur, Shri Nanda Prusty will be conferred with Padma Shri this year. Popularly known as 'Nanda Sir', he has been providing free education to generations of children since independence. #PadmaAwards2021 #PeoplesPadma pic.twitter.com/g4BrxMdSNJ— Padma Awards (@PadmaAwards) February 2, 2021
It is very heartening to witness the dedication of Nanda Master and we salute his herculean effort in building the nation.
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