There are many people in our country who lack the means to complete their education and Odisha’s Nanda Kishore Prusty, a class 7 pass-out also faced financial constraints in pursuing his higher studies. The son of a farmer in Jajpur’s small village Sukinda, Prusty dreamed of joining the government service during the pre-independent era but couldn’t complete his education due to his family’s financial conditions. He chose to help his father over taking a job but also made a decision early in his life to begin his own mission of literacy by teaching those who also cannot afford education like him. A few years after independence, he began teaching for free under the village tree and has been doing the same for four generations for now.
When Prusty was 26, he observed that many elders of the village, mostly labourers and farmers cannot even sign their own name and use thumb expressions. This is when, he made his mind to start tuitions for elders as well in the evening. He took it upon himself to help all these people on their path towards literacy to a stage where they can at least sign their own name. That’s how his mission for literacy started to make people capable of at least signing and reading in their own mother tongue.
“His mission to eradicate illiteracy from our panchayat without taking a single penny from anyone is an unparalleled act of devotion. We regard him as the village head and he resolves all issues of my panchayat amicably. We are proud of him,” – Bartanda Sarapanch Rabindra Kumar Sahoo, Courtesy- New Indian Express
Since then he has never looked back and around four generations have been a part of his relentless mission of literacy and many of his students went on to become highly professional individuals under his mentorship. Soon after he started, his open school shifted to a full-packed house near the temple in the village and that came to be known as ‘Nanda Mastre.’ Now, he is 98 years old but his classes still continue without any changes in the schedules and he still doesn’t charge a penny from any of his students.
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The 98-year old Prusty truly stands as an incredible source of inspiration to all the generations and his villagers are proud of his laudable work! His vision for a literate India is truly commendable and needs to be endorsed and supported by the whole world as well. Stay tuned with Leverage Edu for more such informative stories.