Andhra Pradesh

Age is no bar for 93-year-old die-hard teacher

Prof. Chilukuri Santamma taking a class for the students of Centurion University IN Vizianagaram. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

That age is not a barrier for anyone to work efficiently is being proved each and every day by 93-year-old professor Chilukuri Santamma, who teaches even today with the same passion and dedication with which she took up the profession in Andhra University (AU) over six decades ago.

Born on March 8, 1929, the award-winning professor started teaching at AU from 1956 and even after her retirement in 1989, she continues to take classes frequently in AU colleges besides working as an Emeritus Professor of Centurion University of Vizianagaram.

 An expert in Vedic maths and physics, she comes to her class with proper preparation and never fails to impress her students with her knowledge of the latest advancements in her subjects. A gold medallist in her college days, she started her schooling in native Krishna district and then did her intermediate and B.Sc. in AVN College of Visakhapatnam and M.Sc from Andhra University. She earned her Doctor of Science (D.Sc, equivalent to Ph.D) in 1956.

Awards

Prof. Santamma received the State’s best teacher award in 1989 and lifetime achievement award from ISPA-Chennai in 2011. Her research on Atomic Spectroscopy and Molecular Spectroscopy fetched her many awards, including a gold medal in veteran scientists’ category in 2016. Under her guidance, 17 candidates could get Ph.D. degrees and four M.Phil degrees. She attended many international conferences in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Spain. She has penned a book, Divine Directive, explaining the inner meaning of the Bhagavadgita slokas, and dedicated it to Centurion University Vice-Chancellor G.S.N. Raju, her student in AU.

Family support

 “One has to take special care for health with a proper diet. Certainly, age is not a barrier for day-to-day activities. I wake up at 4 a.m. every day and prepare notes for the day’s class. The focus on my subject and teaching keeps me active,” Prof. Santamma tells The Hindu. “One must face all kinds of challenges to reach the top level in the chosen profession. Having lost my father even before my birth, it was my uncle Vangala Narasimha Deekshitulu who raised me and instilled confidence in me to continue studies at a time when girls were not encouraged to go for higher education. My mother Vanajakshmma, who lived for 104 years, also supported me. Later, it was the moral support given by my late husband Chilukuri Subramanya Shastri, who died a few years ago, that helped me continue in the profession and continues to inspire me to keep going at this age,” she says.

“Students pay special attention in her classes as she comes up with new points every time. She also inspires the entire teaching faculty with her discipline, punctuality and dedication towards the profession,” remarks Mr. Raju.


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Printable version | Apr 17, 2022 12:13:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/age-is-no-bar-for-93-year-old-die-hard-teacher/article65326617.ece