Today is Guru Poornima and I have been waiting from several years for the right time to tell to the world about my Guru Dr Sudhakar Puttagunta. He is my Guru, He is as important as my Dad to me. I am blessed to have a wonderful and inspirational person Dr Sudhakar Puttagunta as my GURU. Thousands of his students are leading wonderful careers and life because of his wonderful teaching methods and following him as an example. We are blessed to study in Haritha Ecological Institute. Our Institute has the motto “Knowledge of Nature Shows the Nature of Knowledge”
Some how I feel short of words in writing about our Sudhakar Sir 🙂 . Leaving all the comforts of life for the sake of the ideals is not a simple thing. The way he teaches with the passion for the subject is really inspirational. He could not have achieved all these without the support of his life Partner Smt Usha Rani Puttagunta. Mam, left her Managerial position in Andhra Bank and all the comforts to help Sir in achieving his goals. This is very sweet and inspirational. Sir is able to execute his ideas in much more effective manner with the guidance of Shri Satya Theertha. I pray to God to Bless this wonderful Trio with lots of energy and good health to do more things related to Education. Touchwood!!! Now his children,Vishwanath Puttagunta and Vasundhara Puttagunta are helping Sir in the implementation of his ideas. Vish is trying to take the works of Sir to the world students with the help of Digital Haritha Project :
Know about My Sir little bit more:
Appearances are often deceptive and just how so you realise when you meet P. Sudhkar. Beneath his wiry and rustic exterior and sartorial attire lies an absolute genius. A single conversation with him is sure to send a few hiccups down your throat. For, this erstwhile electronics (doctorate in Physics) research faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, is not only an articulate treasure house of technological innovations but a visionary who could mould rural India into an economical, productive force.
For Sudhakar, life in the lab and on the field was not satiating. “While we were chartering courses to set up industrial parks in IIT, through extensive field work, I realised that there was something inherently lacking in our academic set up. The concept of irrelevance is built into our psyche and none of us pause to look into any worthwhile contribution to be made to society. The same is true of our basic education. A literate farmer is paradoxically more unfit on the field than his illiterate elders. I felt the need for basic education to be of relevance to the common masses. Hence productive activities are to be the focal point especially in agriculture which is India’s mainstay even today,” he says.
What characterises the man is his humility, simplicity and self-esteem. When he chose to live amidst the dense forests of Palavoncha (near Bhadrachalam in AP) a remote tribal belt, he knew what he was in for — uncertain income, censure by family and friends and nix social status. “It was natural for family and friends to be sceptical of my venture at least in the initial stages. I did have my share of problems in convincing them of my abilities. However, there were a few like-minded friends who boosted my sagging morale at critical times. Looking back, I have no regrets though I still have a long way to go,” says Sudhakar. He had to literally part with all his savings to acquire 12 acres of land in a remote region like Palavoncha. The idea was to start a school that would stress on productive activities relevant to rural dwellers. It was an experiment, which though cost-effective, was time-consuming and with an uncertain outcome. To avoid pitfalls and ensure smooth sailing, Sudhakar hit upon an idea wherein his experiment would be incorporated within the existing state syllabus for the school.
Trial runs for the project took shape in a matter of four years and by 1994, Harithavarna Vidyapeetam (a registered NGO) was established with an eco-friendly infrastructure. The availability of bamboo in the forests of Bhadrachalam and tribal expertise coupled with a physicist’s technological prowess made for ethnic classrooms, halls and hostels. The school ran classes from primary to high school adhering to the state syllabus, so that the children would not miss out on regular academics (inclusive of computer usage), which would open the gates towards higher aspirations. “We devote one hour and post-school hours to the productivity aspect of education. Teachers (there are now 10 of them) trained by me would encourage students to indulge in simple activities such as cycling, eating, planting and illustrating a concept using these as teaching tools. Tribal or rural children with their natural acumen towards their environment respond very fast to the rudiments of subjects such as languages, statistics, math and even physical sciences, not to talk of biological sciences. They were especially brilliant at subjects dealing with soil, water bodies, pollutants and simple clues for mathematical calculations, which are engrained in them at a tender age. They can now tackle any competitive examination in the future with a mindset that can distinguish constructive happiness from consumerism,” says Sudhakar, sounding like a proud father.
Who has ever heard of cycling being a method to prepare idlidough? Well the students of the Haritha residential school in Palavoncha actually do it. The conventional grinding stone is attached to the cycle so that peddling it for ten minutes would generate energy to grind the necessary ingredients. There is also a mobile paddy de-husking unit operated by a pair of bullocks rather than the conventional mechanised set-up, that can generate 1 kilowatt of energy. This can be stored in a battery, which can meet the lighting requirements of a hut through a crudely designed invertor.
Sudhakar’s home is bamboo with thatch that is covered by a fine layer of ferro cement for the roof and bamboo walls enmeshed with a thin medium of wire mesh and plaster. “These are excellent thermal insulators that keep interiors cool in summer and warm in winter. The cement layer protects the bamboo from damage by rain,” he says.
The result is both economical as well as an ethnic delight. The water required for household chores is stored in an elevated tank with a broad tube below, which when opened, flushes out the water to a fairly large tract of land thus rendering it fertile to grow vegetables. And this means doing away with open drainage system.
“The entire food requirement for the resident children is met within the campus,” says Usha Rani, Sudhakar’s wife, who quit her banking job to join him in this endeavour.
Though publicity shy and reluctant to pander to the powers that be, recognition did come Sudhakar’s way a couple of years ago when the Centre for Environmental Education (AP chapter) took the school as a nodal centre for training primary school teachers (25 such schools) in the new mode of study. A number of textbooks in basic sciences and languages using the new tools of teaching methods are now available, mostly penned by the staff of Haritha.
It is exciting to go through the innovative, excellently crafted English nursery rhymes that talk of a tree, a pigeon, a rivulet, a waterfall, the rain — a refreshing change from the usual stuff that our nursery schools are accustomed to. Funded by the Ministry of education, four manuals in Telugu, one in social studies and an English Primer are awaiting further funding (close to Rs 1 lakh) for distribution and feedback.
Impressed by the novel bamboo constructions, the Ministry of Rural Housing contracted a project to build these innovative houses. Sudhakar had to float another NGO – Haritha Ecological Institute – as an R&D-cum-pilot project undertaking.
Usage of unsplit bamboo in structuring the roof (usually dome shaped) has drawn the Tifac arm (Department of Science & Technology) to send a study team, which gave a positive chit to Haritha.
Sudhakar wears these successes on his sleeve with ease while he relentlessly toils to breed a fresh, new generation of youngsters.(Source : THE HINDU )
God Bless Sir and hope all of his students take active participation in taking forward his works and ideals to much more people. Just wanted to say that “Sir, We respect you and love you. We will take your works to much more people in the world taking you as inspiration”.
Contact Details of Our College/School:
HARITHA ECOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
P.B. No. 26; Harithapuri, BCM Road, Palvancha – 507 115. Khammam Dt.,
Telephone no. 08744-255060, 9397382796,
E-mail: Dr.Sudhakar Puttagunta : firstname.lastname@example.org
Shri Satya Theertha: email@example.com