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Degrees of difference

A teacher who is always a student, the road to Katragadda Bhagath Singh may have been tough but not tiring in obtaining his numerous degrees, including Ph.D, M.A (P.A); M.A (Soc); M.L; MBA; B.Sc (Hons); M.L.I Sc; P.G. J. M.C; B.P.R; D.D.E; V. U2; B.S.J; C.P.F.N; MIMA; MISTE; AIETE and HoP (standing for husband of Pramila), says Mubin Sultan.

WHAT THE great freedom fighter, Bhagath Singh illustrated that `it matters not how long we live, but how,' is lived up to date by people highly impressed by him like Katragadda Bhagath Singh.

Dr. Bhagath Singh, a brilliant student, extra-ordinarily savant educationist shared the pleasant company of his wife, Pramila at `Midas-The Taste Buds,' in the backdrop of a creative scene of a dolphins and a ship attacked by pirates.

The ceiling added to the mood with surreal painting of the night sky, illuminated with cheerful colours.

The first glance at this overtly simple couple may hardly provide a clue to the diverse factors that can stand as a testimony to their genius, influence and humility. Dr. Bhagath Singh served as an asset to the prestigious SRR&CVR and Loyola colleges. He along with his unassuming wife has been witnessing the changing colours of Vijayawada through the days of the Freedom struggle and until now.

Taking a stroll down the memory lane, Dr. Bhagath Singh recalls his education under the British. His first book had the picture of King George VI and was published by Oxford University Press. Speaking the tongue of a mature intellectual with flawless English, Dr. Bhagath Singh explained the story behind his name.

His uncle Vijaya Ramaiah was a famous Sanskrit poet and scholar of his times who was smitten by Bhagath Singh's zeal and decided to name his nephew after him. This took to a trend and his brother came to be named Subhash Chandra Bose.

While Dr. Bhagath Singh belonged to a village 19 kilometers off Vijayawada, Pramila was a native of another village near Gudivada. Offering an image of the Vijayawada of their times, the couple said that the city was sparsely populated and needed only one mega watt of power for consumption each day. "There has been a lot of change in the way things work these days," they say, exemplifying their statement with an instance of the way marriages were conducted then and now. "It was a huge affair and a festival for all he acquaintances, that was celebrated for almost five days, with people helping each other and sharing the hefty task," says Pramila.

Observing their long practice of `eating light,' Pramila preferred only a Vegetarian Sweet Corn soup and Vegetable Manchuria for dinner, while Dr. Bhagath Singh went a little further with a Pulka and Paneer Butter Masala. They believe that healthy living habits can make the body immune to almost any kind of disease.

Dr. Bhagath Singh has unbelievable number of degrees attached to his name and is currently working on another PhD even while he manages his college, `K.E.S Polytechnic College for Women.'

He is a true savant, always engaged with one subject or the other. "It is my thirst to know more about science," he justifies. He accepts that it's his inquisitiveness, zeal, and wife's support and co-operation have been the factors for his success. In addition to all these, he had been a businessman, and is also a founder of the Vijayawada Exhibition Society.

Taking pride in his husband's diligence, intellect, and interests, Pramila has always been there for him through decades, encouraging him. Even after decades of service Pramila is full of energy when it comes to doing her daily chores. "She is an excellent cook and is particularly good with the prawns and pickles," says Dr. Bhagath, "this is certified by university professors," he jests.

She is all praises for her sons, daughters-in-law and fondly recalls her daughter Lakshmi Gauri, currently in London. "She held the title of `The Star of India' for four years, as a sports person," she observes.

As a member of the Sister Cities International, a US based organization; Bhagath Singh had the opportunity to visit many cities as a very important person responsible for cultural amalgamation.

He had delivered many lectures and met many impressive people from all over the globe, as he traveled through the USA, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Germany etc., He was kind of thrilled when he landed on the British soil, "that was a place I always was fascinated about as we had heard about the Buckingham Palace, The Thames, The Tower Bridge, etc.," he says.

Talking about the city, as it is today, the couple is not very happy about the change. "People have become too mechanical to observe certain values and customs as part of the tradition," they opine. While the changing trends in the attitude of the student towards the teacher doesn't seem welcoming to Dr. Bhagath Singh.

He recalls his teachers who were guides more than tutors and looked upon education as a responsibility that would help the student grow as a person.

The Chief Minister, Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, along with many other ministers and Cabinet members, have been his students at the Loyola College. "The doctors attending to the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister are my students. Hadn't there been such a large-scale exodus of the intellectual lot from Vijayawada, every second doctor could be called my student," says Dr. Bhagath Singh. It gives greater happiness to see the students prosper and also revere their teachers even after achieving success," he says.

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