An open air school in Barmer hired a satellite television set and mounted it on a camel cart to beam Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Teachers’ Day speech on Friday, a frugal innovation that brought much joy to dozens of students in a far-flung desert village.
With no electricity connection or TV sets, there was little chance of about 35 students of the government primary school hearing Modi live. But local education department official Laxman Solanki would not give up easily.
After realising that a temporary electricity connection could not be arranged, he hired a camel cart to ferry a TV set, a satellite antenna and an inverter. The equipment were then mounted on the cart.
“We did not want to deny students and teachers this opportunity to listen to the prime minister. So we used our tried and tested tradition with technology,” said Laxminarayan Joshi, in-charge at primary education.
To make sure students paid attention, some madrasas decided to organise debates among students on Modi’s speech with the best speakers marked down for a prize.
Impressed with Modi’s concern over bright students not taking up teaching jobs, Kausar Jahan, a B.Ed student at Eram-Lil-Binaat madrasa, vowed to become a teacher so that she could help shape young minds.
The prime minister’s tales of his childhood pranks amused students and many of them broke out into a loud laughter.
Twenty one-year-old Syed Ali of Jamate-Tableegh madrasa said that hearing Modi was always a pleasure.
“The recent visuals from Japan where he played (the) drum and flute will remain fresh in people’s mind. He has never let the aura of being PM to overpower him and kept things simple,” said Ali.
Maulana Jafar Abbas of Jame-atot-Tableegh madrasa in Thakurganj told HT that, “Despite differences in ideology, we don’t see any reason to oppose this gesture of the PM of reaching out to the student community.”
“The PM chose an auspicious occasion to reach out to students and it was good there was no controversy,” said another cleric Maulana Yasoob Abbas who made arrangements at madrasa Tahir-ul-Uloom for the students to be able to hear Modi.