Rajasthan: Identical Twins Team Up To Help Students Learn Sports and Art
Two brothers who are identical twins not only teach kids about the importance of physical fitness and strength but also ensure that their proteges have the sensitivity to appreciate and practise art.
Amarpal Singh Verma 13 March 2023 1:10 PM GMT
Identical twins Mastan Singh and Naseeb Singh are physical education teachers in two government schools in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district. Their life trajectories have been curiously similar as they continue to inspire their students in sporting activities as well as art, besides being supportive to the government’s development programmes.
Not only do they look and sound alike, they have also both chosen to be teachers and were employed as physical education teachers on the same day. Mastan Singh teaches at Lakhasar village and Naseeb Singh teaches at Hansliya village, both in Hanumangarh district.
The brothers don’t just teach physical education, but also share their love for art with their students.
Mastan Singh is an accomplished cartoonist too. For years he has, through his cartoons, encouraged people to vote during elections, and his contributions have been greatly appreciated and honoured. There are no election campaigns in Hanumangarh that do not use Mastan’s cartoons.
The Rajasthan State Council of Education Research and Training, Udaipur has recommended that about 20 textbooks for classes one to five in the state government schools be rendered into comic form. Mastan Singh worked on them for over a year and has contributed the illustrations to the text books.
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Drawing to inspire
The brothers were born in 1974 to Sardar Teja Singh, an engine driver based in Hanumangarh Junction. They both completed their Masters in Physical Education, M Phil and are NET qualified.
They are both passionate about playing hockey and are also hockey coaches in their schools.
Born into a Sikh household, both brothers grew up seeing paintings of Sikh gurus hanging on the walls of their home. They were particularly inspired by the paintings of the Sikh gurus done by the eminent artist, Sobha Singh.
“No one really taught us to paint. We just began to copy the paintings of the Gurus we saw hanging on our walls. People began to appreciate them, and we continued to paint,” Naseeb told Gaon Connection. While both the brothers did paintings and cartoons, Naseeb stuck more with paintings while Mastan did a lot of illustration work too.
While they taught at private schools before, it was in 2013, that Mastan and Naseeb were employed as physical education teachers in their respective government higher secondary schools at Lakhasar and Hansliya villages.
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A teacher’s contribution to society
Mastan Singh has used his cartoons for several social causes. During the pandemic he ran an entire series on social media on it. His cartoon depicting the heroic work done in the field by students during the pandemic was hugely appreciated and the then minister of state for primary and secondary education, Govind Singh Dotasra shared it on his Facebook page.
His illustrations also raised awareness amongst the populace about the mission of Rajasthan’s anti-corruption bureau to tackle corruption in the state.
“Mastan Singh has used his cartooning skill to support government work, that too without any monetary benefit. Whenever we have approached him for help with some programmes or initiatives, he has stepped up,” Suresh Kumar Bishnoi, information and public relations officer, Hanumangarh, told Gaon Connection.
“He made an entire series during the pandemic to raise awareness about social distancing, wearing masks, etc., to appeal to the masses. His brother Naseeb Singh has also wholeheartedly supported the programmes of the district. The district administration has honoured both of them for having contributed so significantly to the programmes of SVEEP [Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation],” Bishnoi added.
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Naseeb Singh has been keeping his students at the school in Hansliya village physically fit. At the same time, he is also sharing his love for painting with them. He has introduced several measures in the school to encourage his students. It was under his direction that an athletics track was built in the school. Government schools in Pohadka, Jaitsar, Pilibanga and Kothavale village, and the SGN Khalsa College in Sri Ganganagar have also set up athletics tracks under his supervision. Mastan Singh was also part of the initiative at Pilibanga and Kothavale.
“Both brothers are a treasure to the education department,” Poorna Dev, Pilibanga-based additional Block Education Officer, told Gaon Connection. “They have raised the standard of hockey players and many of them who have trained under them have competed at the national level,” he added.
According to the block education officer, the brothers have also found sponsors for the players. “They had a huge role to play in the rural and urban olympic games organised by the state government last year,” he said.