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Government schools in India lack many educational facilities like a good library. Mayuri Purkayastha speaks of one such she built in Bhosari, through crowdsourcing.
There are 6 fellows teaching in a low income Government school in Bhosari.
As you walk into my school, you find a putrid smell hitting your nostrils, you spot kids playing in the shared playground between six other schools. To your extreme left tucked away behind the building of a Marathi Medium School will be a yellowed building standing against time. The first floor of that building along with the ground floor is the English Medium School of PCMC in Bhosari.
Until now, all fellows in their individual classes had libraries for their own classes by collecting books through the years. However, children often lacked the feel of a library, or a place where they could have access to myriad books.
Recently when the school was to be run in two shifts, the fellows decided to convert one of the spaces in the parking to a library. We started from scratch and the children did everything, from painting the walls to cleaning the floors.
We borrowed little almirahs from the classes we taught in, and put all our individual collections together.
But they were nowhere close to a healthy or varied collection for kids of all the age range that we were planning to cater to.
That’s when I thought of Senior Reading Raccoons, a community of book lovers on Facebook, a group where we discuss the books we have read and loved. I have loved the vibe of that group ever since I joined, and I thought they might be able to help with the books.
I wrote a post to the members telling them about the story of my team and our children, and support poured in from various cities in no time. We have had people sending couriers of hundreds of books from Indore, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. And I have been truly amazed.
I had put a few African children’s literature on my wishlist, a bit on the expensive side. But believe me I received most of the books!
The library looks fuller now, and there is a variety of books that my kids have access to, pre loved and new, alike.
As I see them exploring, reading, wondering, all I can say is that as a teacher, I feel a lot of hope. I know that at the end of the day, my kids won’t say “Hey, I don’t know if I like reading or not, because I never had a chance to explore!” Rather, they would be able to have the power of making a choice.
I have had friends from the UK supporting the cause, and Senior Reading Raccoons putting their heart and soul into making the library work for us. All I could say as I stepped into the new year is that when I see an “O” forming on the lips of my kids as they leaf through the books, I feel delight and so much joy, and for that I shall always remain in gratitude to all the donors.
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Images source: Mayuri Purkayastha
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: