Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Portrait of a Pre-Independence Headmaster

C. V. G. Krishna Murthy


The High School situated in the Taluq Headquarters of a District was catering to the educational needs of a number of surrounding villages. The classroom teaching was in full swing. A chair was being carried by a class IV employee. Whispering was going on among the students about the probable destination of the chair. The headmaster in his usual professional attire of a dhoti, coat and turban quietly walked through the corridor and sat on the chair in the classroom separately brought for him. The teacher continued his lesson. The headmaster watched and heard with keen attention the response of the students to the questions put by the teacher. The salient features of the lesson- its merits and draws were noted by the headmaster. He walked out of the classroom after politely informing the teacher.

During his leisure periods, the teacher met the headmaster in his room to get useful suggestions for improvement of the lesson and for a good pat for the sparks of excellence in the lesson.

The successive annual inspections of the school by the District Educational officers brought laurels to the institution and specially for the able guidance of the headmaster. For one or two able teachers who felt nervous about inspection, the headmaster specially requested the inspecting authorities to observe the lesson by standing outside the classroom without attracting his attention.

The headmaster and the entire team of teachers in the school offered remedial coaching to academically ward students without expecting any sort of remuneration. The present practice of undertaking tuitions for monetary consideration was never thought of in those good old days.

The headmaster struggled for upgrading the Middle school to High school. The problem of absence of a site for the school was solved by the generous Collector who visited the school. The headmaster requested the Collector to be present for a few scenes in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” enacted by the students of the school. Initially the Collector agreed to be present only for ten minutes but actually stayed to witness all the scenes of the drama. He was all praise for the young actors and for the wonderful direction of the teachers.

The Collector who was highly impressed with the discipline and the talents of the youngsters, asked the headmaster about the immediate requirements for the development of the school. The headmaster was happy to get a sanction order for the allotment of 15 acres of land. The untiring efforts of the headmaster with the co operation of the local public and officials could construct two tiled buildings. The headmaster maintained cordial relations with the public by involving them in school activities.

In those days Government scholarships were not freely available to poor students. Scholarships for the poor students including scheduled castes and tribes were instituted with the local financial aid of the public on the initiative of the headmaster who had complete knowledge about the ground of the students and their financial needs etc. He used to bring round the erring students to the correct path by his gentle counseling. Character building was considered to be paramount besides the academic achievements of the students. The conduct of examinations without a single case of malpractice was a feather in his cap.

The organisation of various functions, annual meetings, sports meets, teachers guild conferences etc, bore the unique stamp of the headmaster’s abilities. He could enlist the whole-hearted cooperation of the entire staff and the active participation of students for the successful conduct of all such events. In recognition of his popularity he was made the President of the District Teacher’s Guild and could persuade the authorities to stop the retrenchment of abut 100 teachers during 1941 and 1943. The successful sports and games meet of all the neighboring schools in the District which was organized in his school was praised by the participating schools and the local leaders.

In the year 1920, the then President of the Krishna District Board, Sri Khan Bahadur Mohammed Humayun Saheb noted the record of the school and said “Not only in the scientific methods of teaching but also in the general administration, this school stands as one of the best. The able headmaster and the willing cooperation of the team of teachers are really praiseworthy.”

After successfully completing about 26 years of service as headmaster of a District Board School, he retired from service on 30th March 1946. In recognition of his long service, silver jubilee of his service was celebrated on 31st March 1946.

A well known educationist who presided over the function, said in his address “Mr. CH. Venkatappaiah (headmaster) is a simple and unostentatious worker, a teacher of rare abilities and a headmaster of unequalled merit. To you who have known him for a quarter of a century, and have known of the sweetness of his voice, and the greater sweetness of his heart, eulogies from me will be stale-no gems need be carried to Pretoria. Mr. Venkatappaiah’s name is one among the present generation of headmasters, that will, long years hence, remain with unfailing lust in the hierarchy of educationists.”

The Silver Jubilee executive committee that paid glowing tributes to him. One day was allotted for the silver jubilee function of the school. The Board High school, Nandigama, in Krishna District, stands as a fitting monument to the zeal, enthusiasm and outstanding abilities of the headmaster.

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