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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE:BY MS. SHOBHANA NAIR

( Ms. Shobhana Nair,our contributing editor of New World,who is an eminent writer has written this article remembering the late Dr. Rajsekhara Reddy, the Chief Minister Of Andhra Pradesh State,India who died in a tragic helicopter accident. There were news report that hearing the news of his death,many people unable to control their grief died. No doubt Dr. Reddy was a great person who loved his people and dedicated his life for them. Ms.Shobhana Nair,a great educationist remembers him of her experience about this great leader when she was the Principal....the first female to adore the position in its 81 years's history . New World is honoured to get the opportunity to publish this wonderful article) New World
A wonderful experience
It was the month of June in 2004 when I got a call requesting me to present myself for an interview for the position of Principal with the full board of the Hyderabad Public School.
I had readymade video presentations covering a variety of topics which I had been using for my Teacher Training programmes but I had to find something that would remain in the minds of the Board members as an unusual presentation.
I presented myself for the interview, went on to being invited for the final interview and was then presented with an offer letter.
I was over the moon with delight because this was a prestigious public school that had never had a woman sit on that exalted chair and I was the first to be given that honour in 81 years of the school’s history!

I was told that my appointment letter would come to me in Bangalore but that it would take a few weeks since the elections in the State had just been conducted, results declared and a new Government had to be sworn in. It was then that I came to know that the appointment of the Principal of this particular school had to be approved by the Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh.
I spent a few days in a tense state of mind, wondering what would happen if my selection was rejected by the Chief Minister’s Office.

Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened and I duly took charge of one of the most prestigious schools in India. During the weeks and months that followed my assuming charge, I was extremely busy.
Weeks went by and then, one day, during a Board of Governors meeting, the Chairman of the Board informed the rest of the members that the CM had requested us to discuss the possibility of starting another HPS in Kadapa which was the CM’s constituency.
The discussions began in the Board room, to decide which part of the city the school had to be situated, which curriculum would be offered, what strength of cohort of students we were looking at, and such details.
Many discussions and brain storming sessions later, a date was fixed for the formal foundation stone laying ceremony of the HPS – Kadapa.

All the Members of the Board travelled to Kadapa to ensure that impeccable arrangements were made for this momentous occasion.
The Honourable CM arrived punctually for the official laying of the foundation stone and the HPS – K was born in the month of January 2005.
The CM allotted 25 acres of land too, at a nominal price, for the construction of the school buildings.

It was during this session that the CM clearly informed the Members of the Board that he would like me to be in charge of this HPS too as he had been impressed with the reports of the quality work I had already put into the pioneer HPS at Begumpet, Hyderabad. I was overwhelmed that such a dynamic leader had understood the dedication, integrity and commitment I had shown towards my job and was applauding my skills in such a magnificent way in the presence of such an august audience.
I was fortunate enough to have quite a bit of interaction with him during this function. I realized why the people of AP had chosen this honest, committed, leader of the people to head the government.
His vision for education was a vast canvas where he wanted all schools in AP to be benchmarked successfully with schools worldwide. He had visions of technology being accessible not just for a few elite schools but for each and every school in the State.
He wanted the State to have a hundred percent literacy rate and especially felt the need to extend education to the children of the economically struggling classes.
Dr. Reddy Garu would always refer to the Hyderabad Public School as the “jewel in the crown of education in Andhra Pradesh”.

Towards the end of that year, I had the fortune to have another extended meeting with this great man. Soon after the tragedy of the Tsunami, it was decided that HPS would set up a fete and the proceeds would go towards the CM’s Relief Fund.
I was able to inspire each and every staff member to voluntarily contribute one day’s pay towards this cause. Students, staff, Board Members and parents all pitched in and we were able to collect a little over a hundred and fifty thousand rupees.
When I requested that I be granted an appointment to hand over this cheque to the CM, he gave it to me immediately. I was honoured to meet this dynamic leader once again on a one-to-one basis. This time, he invited us into his official chambers. He ensured that the room was cleared of his staff, to let me and my Vice Principal know that he was ready to spend quality time with us.

I had just come back after an international study tour with a small group of children. He was happy to know that the old traditions of this great school were being brought back into practice. Once again, I was extremely awed by the charismatic presence of a man who had AP applauding all the good work he was doing for the people and yet, there was this very simple streak in his demeanour that made us respect him all the more.
He knew that my Telugu was, at best, very shaky! So, he spoke for the entire time we were with him, in impeccable English. When our time with him was up, like the true gentleman he was, he rose to see us out just as he had risen to greet us when we walked in.

These few memories that I am fortunate enough to have of the late Honourable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y.S.R. Reddy will remain in the lavender folds of my mind for as long as I live.
The tragedy of his death will forever haunt all who knew him. I’m sure that tens of thousands of his fans would have been praying very hard for a miracle to occur and for him to return safely to Hyderabad when that helicopter went off the radar.

This article is a humble tribute to the greatness of this wonderful leader who was taken from us before his time. And to all the other good men who died with him – my friend Dr. P. Subrahmanyam, IAS, Principal Secretary to the CM who was an honest, industrious, extremely capable bureaucrat, Mr. Sanjay Wesley, Chief Security Officer who joined the CM’s entourage just 2 months ago, Group Captain S. K. Bhatia and Captain Reddy, both extremely experienced pilots .

May their souls rest in eternal Heavenly peace!

(Republished from Sept:8th.2009) New World

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