19 October, 2020

School Was An Arduous Five-Mile Trek, And He Made It Easier For Others

School Was An Arduous Five-Mile Trek, And He Made It Easier For Others

He describes himself as a son of the soil. And Hata Kishore Swain, founder and headmaster of the Erbong high school, has every right to that title. The modest master, son of an illiterate farmer, has the distinction of being the first post-graduate in his village. But despite a first division in political science from Utkal University and every chance of an academic career, he preferred to return to serve the school he'd helped set up.

Hata started the school with five other locals when he realised that villages in the area had no opportunity for education beyond the primary level. And for 35 long years, he remained in voluntary exile from his family as he lived, taught and built the school. The results are quite impressive: the school serves about 25 villages and 50,000 people and has 700 students, 200 of them boarders.

As a child, Hata suffered the agony of trying to get an education in rural India. The only school in the entire area, the Gop high school, had no road links with Erbong. Only a kuccha road to Konark connected Erbong and its surrounding villages....



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