Shri Narendra Modi, Our new Prime Minister is always in the news, more for the good things he’s doing and planning to do more and more in the coming years. His Swach Bharat Abhiyan on second October which happened to be Gandhiji’s birthday, garnered a lot of admiration and inspired quite a lot of people. There were people, as usual, ready with their negative comments but couldn’t cut down the enthusiasm of the general public.
When I heard about this Swach Bharat Abhiyan the first thing that came to my mind was my school Presentation Convent In Dharwar, Karnataka opposite Kittur Chennamma Park. I studied there from third standard to seventh standard which was way back, from 71 to 76. It was an all girls school from fourth standard onwards and co-ed from first to third. So many years have passed but somehow, memories of the good old days spent there keep coming back to me.
I cannot forget the nuns who used to be dressed in white from head to toe and were kindness and affection personified. At the same time they were very strict and believed in discipline and taught not only lessons but also the do it yourself concept. Cleanliness was given a lot of importance. From sixth standard onwards the classes were divided into four or five squads with around eight children in each squad. Each squad was assigned different duties for one week which included cleaning the class, the desks and benches along with other duties. Cleaning the class meant literally holding a broom and sweeping the class! And it was not total type of cleaning but a proper one with the girls sweeping nicely and properly under the desks, benches, window sills and everywhere. And then two girls would dust the desks and benches with a duster. There were sweepers in the school to do this job and would do it again after we left the school. This was purely to teach us that no work is inferior and everybody should be ready to do any work without feeling bad. Apart from this we were also given the task of watering the school garden, not with a long pipe but by filling buckets under the tap. Each class got to do this only twice a year and I remember very well how excited we used to be about this twice a year opportunity and used to look forward to it 🙂
If the schools of today try this now there will be a line of objecting parents who would fight and threaten to lodge a complaint. But in those times it was different and parents never came to school to complain about anything unless something was drastically wrong. This, when majority of the children belonged to good families. We children were so kicked up about the squad duties that the nuns could get anything done from us 🙂 I must say we all enjoyed and took pride in carrying out duties as squad members and would wait for our turns which used to come once a month. It is at such places that one learns about dignity of labour, co-ordination and co-operation.
Thanks to my school I’m a better human being today because the school taught me to respect all human beings and after almost forty years of leaving that school I feel proud to say that I’m a student of Presentation convent. The people of India, lead by Modi are out on a cleanliness drive which our school taught us years ago. Three cheers to Presentation Convent, Dharwar.