Our today’s story is proof that bookish knowledge is necessary but practical knowledge is more important than that. This is the story of an illiterate 66-year-old woman, but her work is so great that she is no less than an angel for her villagers.
The people and children of the village call him Didi with love and respect. We are talking about Tulsi Munda, a resident of Serenda, a small village in Odisha.
The government also believes that Tulsi has raised glory in education. You will be surprised that Tulsi Munda himself is illiterate but he has started a new tradition by teaching hundreds of people. Even after being illiterate, this woman who has taken the initiative to educate the children of the village is no less than a messiah for the villagers.
Tulsi, who spread education in tribal areas, has been awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in the year 2011. Also in 2011, he has also been awarded the ‘Orissa Living Legend Award for outstanding works of social welfare.
Let us tell you how the journey of Tulsi started. Most of the children of Serenda village in Odisha worked in the mines. During that time, Tulsi herself was one of the people working in the mines. But then in 1963 his life took such a turn and educating the society became the goal of his life.
In the year 1963, when Vinoba Bhave came to Orissa during the Bhoodan Movement Padayatra, Tulsi met him. During that time, Tulsi was greatly influenced by Vinova Bhave’s thoughts and he resolved to follow her thoughts throughout her life. Then in 1964, Tulsi Munda started the work of educating the people in his native village Serenda.
It was not easy for an economically weak, uneducated woman, who depended on her own wages to earn money, to educate others. And many times more than the economic problem, the problem was that the villagers used to send their children to work in the mines and in such a situation it was very difficult to move towards education. First, he prepared the villagers to teach the children. He told the villagers about the revolution of independence and its learned people. Tulsi herself was not well educated and did not know about many of the merits of studies. But with his inspiration for his educational mission, he prepared people for it.
Tulsi Munda started the first night-time school in his village. Gradually when the villagers started trusting them and coming forward to teach the children, they also started school during the day. After this, the biggest problem before him was money, he started selling vegetables etc. to solve the money problem and gradually the villagers also came forward to help him.
Tulsi started her first school under a mahua tree, but as the number of children increased, she planned to build a systematic school. For this too, there was a great need of money which he did not have, so he started the work of building a school by cutting stones on his own with the villagers. Everyone’s hard work paid off and in 6 months the school was ready. The two-storied school was named ‘Adivasi Vikas Samiti Vidyalaya‘. At present their school has 7 teachers and 354 students as well as hostels with a capacity of 81 children. This school has become a centre of primary education not only to the children of Serenda village but also to many other villages around.
We know that the level of education in India is still very low compared to other countries. Education is also the basic need and right of children. There are still many areas where children do not know about education. Even today the level of education in the rural areas of the country is quite low. But if you are determined to do all the work like Tulsi, then nothing is difficult.
Today Tulsi has retired but her courage and determination is an inspiration for every woman. Tulsi proved that women are not incompetent but fully capable.
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