Helping their ‘favourite Sir’ tide over difficult times

Hanumandla Raghu with his students at the opening of his tiffin-cum-chicken centre at Ambaripeta village in Karimnagar district.

Hanumandla Raghu with his students at the opening of his tiffin-cum-chicken centre at Ambaripeta village in Karimnagar district.   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Guru Dakshina manifested in a contemporary setting in Jagtial district as a financially troubled teacher was paid back in grace by his former students.

Hanumandla Raghu, a 52-year-old teacher at a private school, was stuck with no income and found himself low on cash reserves after his salary payment stopped from March, after the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

Around 40 students whom Mr. Raghu taught 24 years ago in Rudrangi village (of erstwhile Karimnagar district, now Rajanna-Sircilla) got together to help out their ‘favourite’ teacher. The students, who are now employed in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and other countries, pooled more than ₹1.20 lakh and helped Mr. Raghu, a father of three, set up a tiffin-cum-chicken centre at Ambaripeta village to survive this testing period of his life.

The private school teacher, who never revealed about the critical financial condition to anybody, finally opened up when one of his students Gangam Gangareddy, MPTC from Kalikota, called to check on him.

Soon after learning about the hardship faced by his favourite teacher, Mr. Gangareddy sent him a rice bag, and posted a message in his school friends’ WhatsApp group. “We teamed up and decided to help our teacher. My classmates (Class 10 batch of 1998) who are settled across the world started sending me money, but instead of giving cash, we decided to help him set up a business for steady income even after the pandemic,” Mr. Gangareddy said.

After getting permission from the local sarpanch for land, the MPTC asked his classmate Rajamallaiah, a blacksmith, to make a shed at minimal cost. “Later, he told our teacher to shift to Kalikota from Korutla town and on Sunday, the shop was inaugurated. Now, he doesn't have to worry about the source of income. It will pick up slowly,” Mr. Gangareddy said, adding that they also purchased a grinder, refrigerator and groceries, apart from other essential items to start the business.

He said Mr. Raghu has a unique teaching style and would always make lessons interesting. “He is neither an opportunist nor greedy. Sir is a man of principles and was always happy with our achievements,” he said.

The teacher was touched that his students still remember him. “I was not aware of their plan till the last week of July. They helped me set up a business during the most difficult time of my life and I cannot express my gratitude to my students in words,” Mr. Raghu, a teacher of English and Biology, said.

Students of other batches, too, have started sending him money. So far, they pooled around ₹1.8 lakh, which can be used for the weddings of his two daughter, the teacher said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 10:31:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/helping-their-favourite-sir-tide-over-difficult-times/article32280323.ece

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