A Journalist-Turned-Teacher Is Inculcating Reading Habits In The Children Living In Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand
Manohar Chamoli has sourced over 3,000 books and set up a library at the government school in Kewars village in Pauri Garhwal where he teaches.
Laraib Fatima Warsi 21 Sep 2023 11:31 AM GMT
Before Manohar Chamoli turned a government school teacher, he was a journalist for over one decade. He used to report on civic issues and write for Rashtriya Sahara in Roorkee in Uttarakhand.
But, the resident of Palam village in Tehri Garhwal felt he wasn’t doing enough for the larger community in his region. And turned a teacher in 2005. Since then he has been teaching at various government schools in the villages of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
At present, 47-year-old Chamoli is posted at the Government Inter College in Kewars village in Pauri Garhwal, about 200 kilometres from the state capital Dehradun. He teaches Sanskrit and Hindi to the students of class 8, 9, and 10. He came to this school in 2018 and since then has been teaching here. There are around 62 students in the school, which has a total of eight classrooms.
When Chamoli came to this school, he found that the books were barely taken out of the cupboards except some textbooks that were available for the students. So he took it upon himself to organise books of different genres and make the students read them regularly.
“I had taught at many schools before coming to this school at Kewars village but the situation was poor here, as I found that there was no formal library in the school, and the books were not maintained properly,” Chamoli told Gaon Connection.
Chamoli said that he had a dream — to watch his students read — and have hundreds of books stacked up properly in small cupboards in the classrooms. And, he is happy to be able to realise it. And has found various ways and means to keep the books flowing to the village school.
There are around 3,000 books including textbooks, books for competitive exams, poems, general knowledge, literature, science and picture books.
“There are various publishing houses like Eklavya in Bhopal who send us Hindi literature and science magazines monthly. There are some word puzzles and questions in the magazine for the children. Whoever answers it correctly gets a six month subscription of the magazine,” said Chamoli.
The students at the school are mostly children of farmers, labourers, drummers, craftsmen who do clay work. Their children don’t get the environment to read books at home and are majorly involved in other chores such as helping their parents in farming, poultry, wood cutting and grass cutting.
“I thought that if this young generation of village kids gets educated and develops reading habits, then they would be able to mould their future as books are the ultimate source of knowledge,” the teacher said.
“I love reading picture books because they have so many beautiful pictures and different colours. Whenever I am done with my class work I go and pick my favourite story book in Hindi and read it in my free time,” said 15-year-old Khushboo, a student of class 10. She lives in Kewars village and her father is a driver.
“I remember the first time when sir persuaded me to read books I couldn’t finish even one story but now I can read upto five to six stories in a day and I love reading Panchatantra stories,” she added.
Chamoli’s wife is also a Hindi teacher, and they have two sons. He completed his journalism degree from Haridwar and then worked as a freelance reporter before turning a teacher.
“I left my reporting job in 2005 and because I had a B.Ed degree, I decided to pursue teaching and educating village children,” Chamoli concluded.