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August 9, 2011 / By Pramila Krishnan, DC Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu.
Guard P.Perumal reads out to students at the primary school in Dharmapuri - Deccan Chronicle photo.
Unmindful of the samacheer kalvi debate raging across the state of Tamil Nadu, watchman P. Perumal teaches Tamil, even Maths and Science, to the students in a primary school in Dharmapuri.
And his is not an isolated case of odd men getting into strange vocations. Several instances of watchmen or cooks taking lessons for the students in the government tribal residential (GTR) schools prevail in Dharmapuri while their teachers are away busy in their ‘outside meetings’, an euphemism for attending to private business chores.
As the lone teacher-cum-headmaster Sadiq Basha at this GTR School in Suriyakadai had gone to Dharmapuri, about 70 KMs away, to buy provisions for the hostel kitchen, Perumal was conducting the class when this correspondent visited the school of 28 tribal kids on Monday.
And since cook Lakshmi leaves early evening to catch the last bus out, he must also cook the dinner for the children and guard the premises in the night.
"I had studied up to second class and even that was some 30 years ago. I am trying my best to explain lessons to these children. They are very patient", said Perumal, looking a bit sheepish in his avatar as teacher.
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