Almost two months after she was allegedly killed by her own student in a school, Uma Maheswari was once again fondly remembered by members of the teaching fraternity, her family and friends.
Teachers from various schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur gathered to present the Rs. 5.15 lakh they had collected from 1,500 teachers, through the Federation of Tamil Nadu Teachers' Association, to the slain teacher's daughters Sangeetha and Janani.
Carefully guarded by Vijaya Thiagarajan, principal of the Ebenezer Marcus Matriculation Higher Secondary School where they study, the daughters of Ms. Uma Maheshwari, sat calm, trying to hide from the spotlight. “Please don't, leave us alone,” Ms. Thiagarajan told the photographers, while the younger girl, Janani held her grandmother's hand, tightly.
Ms. Thiagarajan, held out a piece of paper with a little speech written on it, and passed it on to the older girl, when she was called to the stage. “We will remain grateful to you throughout our lives. Thank you for honouring our mother for the service she rendered,” said Sangeetha.
Ms. Maheswari was working as a science and Hindi teacher at the Mary's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School. On February 8, she was allegedly stabbed by a class IX student.
The federation, over the last one month, had collected the amount from teachers working in over 120 government and government-aided schools.
“Individual donations ranged from Rs. 100 to Rs. 1,500. A couple of us went and met the daughters to know what all they needed so that we could help them accordingly,” said K. Boopalan, State headquarters secretary, Tamil Nadu Post Graduate Teachers Association.
Over 100 teachers were present at the meeting. “We also wanted to tell the children that we are with them. That is why this gathering,” said a teacher.