Mr B. K. Sharma, a schoolteacher, views his mission in life to
Mr B. K. Sharma, who teaches in a government school in East district, has been active as a social worker in the National Capital since 1983, when he joined the Delhi Administration, keeping alive the traditional Guru Shishya relationship, which is rare to find these days.
He helps the poor students who reside in jhuggi clusters and unauthorised colonies in their studies. He spends a major part of his salary on the education of the students of lower strata. He provides school uniforms, stationery and other things to them. Mr B. K. Sharma, who belongs to a village in Uttar Pradesh, completed his master’s degree in physical education from Gwalior, and joined as a teacher in Muzaffar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. He joined the teaching profession keeping in mind that while working with the school he would get more chances to help needy people. It was precisely this strong urge, which made him chuck the lucrative job of a policeman in Uttar Pradesh. He left the police job to join the teaching profession. Mr Sharma decided to help the needy people when he saw the students of economically poor background leave their studies due to financial crisis in their families in Muzaffar Nagar. He had worked from there for the betterment of the poor people in villages. A few years later, he came to the Capital and continued his social activities. An underprivileged boy, he had helped in the earlier years, is practising as a dentist in East Vinod Nagar now. He has received a number of awards for excellent performance in the department as well as awards from NGOs for doing remarkable work in society.
For how long you have been working as a social worker?
I have been working as a social worker since I have joined teaching profession. But in Delhi, I have been working since 1983. Earlier, I was in Muzaffar Nanagr and Saharanpur districts in Uttar Pradesh, where I helped a number of poor people.
When I joined as a physical education teacher, I was posted in Senior Secondary School in Mayur Vihar, where I saw that majority of the students were from economically poor background. I saw students leaving their studies in the schools due to financial crisis in the family. A few of them were good in study. I talked to their parents and assured them that I would provide all the material for their study. A few of them were convinced and they allowed their wards for the study. I remember that one of them has become dental surgeon and at present he is practising in East Vinod Nagar.
Have you remembered any memorable incident while doing social work in the area?
Yes. Once a newly married woman committed suicide in East Vinod Nagar when she was alone at home. Her husband was on his workplace and her mother-in-law had gone somewhere else. Husband of the woman and his mother were not involved in the case. But parents of the woman tried to fabricate a dowry case against them. They were worried and came to me. I talked to both parties and said there should not be injustice with them. Seeing my behaviour and politeness, parents of the woman, who committed suicide, disclosed that their daughter was very aggressive and would have taken the extreme step on her own. This statement was recorded in front of the area SDM and the case was closed.
Since you are working in a school how do you find time for social work?
Generally, teachers join private colleges after duty hours. But I do not believe in doing tuition or any other job. Whatever salary I am getting from the department, I am satisfied. I prefer making contacts and helping students of economically poor background. I call my students at home to teach them and to guide them how to plan to make their career. Before final examinations, a number of students come to study at my home. I teach them free of charge. Besides helping students, I am associated with the Resident Welfare association of East Vinod Nagar. I keep myself in touch with leaders who represent the area people in assembly and corporation and request them for development of the area.
When I had constructed my house here, the colony was like a jhuggi cluster. With the help of other residents, I had got done the development work. Now, it is better than other unauthorised colonies. Apart from this, I organise social and cultural function under the aegis of Udbhav, an NGO. From time to time, I organise painting competition and prizes are distributed among the best participants. I arrange money from influential people of the area for these functions.
Have you taken permission from department concerned to involve in these activities?
I do not think that there is a need to take permission from the department for these activities. Social work is not an anti-national activity. The education department can put restriction for private tuition, but it can not restrict the teachers if they guide their students for the better results or to make their career better. When I help a student financially, I do not charge from the school or the education department. For this help either I am sufferer or my family members. A few of my students, to whom I helped out of the way, have represented national level championship in athletes.
In 1997, the department recognised me as the best teacher in the Capital and I was given an award. Besides, another award ‘Saraswati Samman’ was given by an NGO, Awantika Bhartiya Samkalin Kalakar Sangh. Recently, I received Dr S Radha Krishnan Smriti Rashtriya Shikshak Samman.
You spend a major part of your salary for the poor students. How do you run your family?
I have very simple life. I do not believe in
showing off. Though I have been in government job from the beginning of my
career, yet I do not have a luxurious lifestyle. I travel by bus. Sometimes, I
used to walk from my house to school to save money. Even my family members do
not object helping economically poor students.