Nanda Prusty, a 102-year-old man has been imparting knowledge to the kids of his village, Kantira in Odisha’s Jajpur district for seven decades now. He might have aged a little but his cognitive abilities and his passion to teach are uninterrupted.
Nanda Prusty is popularly known as ‘Nanda Sir’. He has been teaching for seven decades, sometimes his students turned out to be the second or third generation of one family.
Nanda Prusty started teaching even before India got its independence. As everyone in his village was illiterate, he was sent away from home for education. After he returned, he started teaching the people of his village.
Initially, Nanda found it difficult to convince children who were aimlessly roaming around to study and there was no structure to be called a school and to teach them. So, he started teaching under a tree and charged no penny. He considered his act of impartment of knowledge as a help and not a source of income.
Soon his popularity grew and the elderly also began coming to him for basic education like learning Odia alphabets, a bit of mathematics and to write their names.
Even today, this tradition started by Nanda as a young boy continues. Though the village has schools and children regularly the villagers send their children to attend Nanda sir’s classes. There are about 40 students now and he teaches them in batches of two. The tree has been now replaced by a temple built by him so that the classes are not disturbed by the weather conditions. Classes were suspended for a few months due to the pandemic but they have resumed now. He also refuses to take any help from the government and continue to teach as long as he can.