A teacher with heart in the right place - The Times of India

NAGPUR: Kumar Dabir's heart was on the wrong side of his chest. It led to quite a few medical complications that finally claimed his life at the age of 69 last week. However, for thousands of his students, Dabir was one teacher with heart in the right place.

He was known to hand out information, newspaper clippings, books, help, and even money to all those in need. He was able to do that thanks to his lifelong hobby of studying every conceivable topic under the sun. That included taking up farming or keeping poultry just to learn more about these trades, getting an MA two years back and aiming for a PhD in psychology next.

Hailing from a family of farmers, Dabir had gone behind his father's back when he started taking an interest in drama and theater at a very young age. He took up a teacher's job at the insistence of his father, but encouraged all students to develop one more facet of their life by participating in theater activities.

He remained a teacher all his life, even after retiring from Pandit Bacchharaj Vyas Vidyalaya some ten years back. He taught children mathematics in school. After school hours, Dabir wrote numerous plays, stories and even folk songs. His writings encompassed everything from freedom fighters to social reformers to environment conservation to female foeticide to the fight against superstition. No stage was too small for him, including the street corner.

Not a very religious person, Dabir did not subscribe to the strict traditions associated with religious texts. But he deconstructed their philosophy into simple rules, all pointing to a better life and society, which he too aimed for every day.

A student once ran away from school, even leaving his bag behind. Dabir asked the boy's friends his whereabouts and then took the bag to the boy at the end of the day. He simply told the boy, "Why did you run away? You could have asked me and left the school any time." The boy was totally disarmed by this nonchalance, and confessed to his problems. Dabir took him under his wings and, like many others before and after him, the boy soon found his calling instead of ending up a school dropout.

For all his seriousness in deftly dealing with such problems, Dabir never took himself seriously. He had instructed his five daughters and relatives long before he died, "Donate my body for study by future doctors. Don't spend anything on my last rites. Instead, sponsor the education of as many children as you can."

So, this winner of a National Ideal Teacher Award continues to teach even after his death.
A teacher with heart in the right place - The Times of India

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