My school days – Shri D. H. Shankaramurthy – Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council
There were hardly any schools in my town except some government schools:
Mr. Shankaramurthy DH, 75, is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka, India. He has been Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council since 2010. In this article he reminisces his school days. He talks about his teachers, school campus and importance of games. He also shares his opinions and views on the present education system and the issues that need immediate attention. He speaks to School –
I am from Shimoga district. When I was a little boy of 3-5 years, there were hardly any schools in my town except some government schools. I was admitted in school at the age of 3, now it is not possible unless the child completes 6 years. Those days primary school allowed early admission. I got admitted at the age of three for the simple reason there were no required no. of students in schools. Whoever came to the school teachers used to admit them happily. After one year I don’t know why the teacher told that after the summer holidays, “You go and sit in 3rd std class room.” I was happy that instead of going to 2nd I will be going to 3rd standard.
A year later, I didn’t go to school for 4th std at all as my mother was not well so I was forced to quit school. Further there was no one to ask me to go to school! Next I was admitted to 5th std. At that time, education system in Karnataka was 1-4 primary, 5-8 middle and 9-11 was high school. I do remember the days I spent in my middle school.
The teachers were very-very good. Of course they were very strict and used to beat us. One teacher had a peculiar type of cane, if he used to hit us then it will severely pain for 2-3 days. If I recollect those days it was good they did that. I particularly remember my Arthimatics class. My Nagappa teacher used to say, “Hey! You got a bright future of being good mathematician, you have to score 100/100 in every exam.” Again why he said that I don’t know but I did score good marks in the subject. When I committed a small mistake he used to trash me like anything.
8th std was a public exam, lower secondary school. I got passed in 1st class. I studied in Main Middle School, Shimoga. Even now it runs under the same name. It is a government school with a huge compound and big building. Today I feel proud to say that I was selected and appointed as President of Old Boys Association. The nomenclature still continues. Although there is no middle school now but the building, the school name goes on with. Next I joined high school. I studied only in government schools and it exists even today.
In my high school there were very good teachers, we used to address them by only their initials like CKN. My English teacher, oh my God! What a wonderful teacher he was. Some days I was not able to understand what he was saying but it was something like music. He used to tell about the Shakespeare. I didn’t know what it was in those days! i was studying in Kannada medium.
Another great teacher was Mr. D.N.Sitaramiah, he passed away recently. He was very good teacher, sportsman and cricketer. Even today I remember, he used to explain us how a late cut is done in cricket, meaning of cover fielders. At that time there were no television, he used to take us to cricket field and explain everything. Those were very good days.
Those days even parents were not particular about children education, for example if anyone asked my father, “What is your fourth son is doing?” He used to call me and ask to share the details on my school. I am from a joint family. We were around 30-40 members living together. I used to go to schools with my aged cousins and play with them.
Studying at home – I didn’t have a good atmosphere for the simple reason that a small house with 30-40 people there was no space to sit and study. Hence I used to go out with my friends to a river bed and there we used to study. One of my friend is still alive, Shankar Joyce.
My College days:
After completing my school I went to intermediate college, Shimoga. At that time it was intermediate college not PU college. I was interested in sports so was made Captain of college Kho-Kho team. I represented my college in Table Tennis and Kabadi, then Table Tennis was very popular tournament amongst state colleges, MGS tournament. We didn’t have degree courses in our town therefore after intermediate I was forced to come to Bangalore. I joined Central College and completed B.Sc. it was Mysore University then, I came to know it is better to play Tennis so, i started playing it. I was part of a cricket team also. I was not good at cricket but had good friends in the team so whenever the seniors were absent I was given an opportunity to play in the cricket team for the college. Being good at tennis, I represented Central College and Mysore University in different tournaments during 1957-58.
After my graduation I didn’t knew what to do? No one was there to consult or to take guidance. Some of my friends suggested for post graduation so I tried to enroll myself for M. Sc at Central College. My favourite subject was chemistry, but unfortunately I was unable to score good marks in chemistry but scored very good marks in physics. So professor in Central College said, “Why don’t you join physics?” I told him that I am not interested and went to join Law College. Unfortunately those days college timing was from 7.30 to 10.30 am. I was clueless what to do after 10.30. I became restless and frustrated. I continued playing tennis, but even then, I felt it was not good. For 2 year law course, I completed 1st year exam and went home to join my father’s business and started activities in politics.
I was born in 1940; many of my elder cousins were involved in freedom movements, so I was also interested in it. I had charakas at home, I have made threads from cotton in charakas.. We had photographs of Gandhiji, Nehruji, Subhash Chandra Bose in our house. My elders used to explain it and I remember to have heard Subhash Chandra Bose speaking over the radio from some other country. During night, everyone at home used to tell, “Don’t shout, don’t talk Subhash Chandra Bose is speaking.” I have listened to Nehru’s pre-independence speech as well over radio.
During that time the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak an apoliticle out fit) movement was started in our town and I was attracted towards its ideology and discipline. I used to go there to play Kabadi but gradually, I moved with zeal to participate in its courses. So from RSS, even throughout my student days I was connected with RSS. While working in my father’s business I was very active in Jan Sangh activities. I was made the district General Secretary and later I became state General Secretary for Jan Sangh
Back then General Secretary was the man who used to run the party not the president. It was a secretary based party, even, Atal Bihari Vajpai ji was our All India General Secretary and never the President of Jan Sangh. RSS leaders whenever they used to come to Shimoga they used to stay in our house. Few to name are Atal Bihari Vajbaiji and Advaniji. Then it was a sort of political career.
Suggestions for new education system
Education system has changed now and it is for good. Schools are giving good education. My grand children are going to school these days. Starting from 1st standard I see schools have well-defined curriculum and some other things. But only one thing I feel children are missing the thrust on sports. There is no time for the children- morning 7.30 they go to school. We used to go to our schools at 10.30 am. I used to walk to school for about 15 minutes, I used to carry my small bag not kgs of books it used to be one/two notebooks and text books. After school I used to have food and go for playing, I had time to do all that. Now my grandson, he comes back home around 5.30 pm and at 6 pm his mother starts asking, “What is your home work? Come and sit!” Whenever I ask her to allow him to go and play some games, she asks me, “Where shall I send him? Where is the security? So much traffic is on the road, I can’t send him alone.” During holidays, she arranges for some swimming pool and learning exercises through summer camps. That is all, it is very limited.
Those days every day from 5-7pm I used to go and play in the ground, those things this present generation is missing. Something has to be done, even school should encourage them to play games, whatever the games they want to play – Running, Kabadi, Kho-Kho, Badminton. We used to organise our own club, make woollen balls to play ball badminton. It never used to cost more, so we used to share, play whenever we want. We used to go to rivers and swim. It was fresh water, now no water is fresh, entire river is polluted! I can’t go and sit in the bank of the river also. So likewise changes are there.
Regarding tuition side, input is really good now. The system has improved, teachers’ standard has grown, but I feel some sort of time table should be made and at least children should be made to play some games in schools itself.
I feel liberty it is need of the day to give liberty to children to encourage them to play games. They should be allowed to mingle and spend some time with their age group friends. Now I don’t think anyone has good friends! At my age of 10 we friends planned to go to Mysore Dasara. I told my father that we are going for Dasara, he asked. “Who all are going?” I said we three friends are going and then he asked, “How much money you need?” He gave the money and we went to Mysore at the age of 10. It is not allowed now! We four friends purchased tickets, got into train, reached Mysore, searched hotel to suit our pockets, stayed, went round the princely town and came back home. My father never felt that he has sent his son somewhere, now it is not possible. The situation has changed. I do understand that we can’t send a 10 year boy to other town alone or with his friends but some sort of freedom they are missing. I feel for this is reason our children are not growing to their capacity. I used to participate in debates in schools that have helped me politically also. Not only me, my whole team used to debate, we used to fight, argue, whatever the subject may be!
I was good at chess and my grandson is really interested in chess. He doesn’t find time to play with me! Whenever I ask him he will say, “Grandpa, I will have to go somewhere but after I return at 8 we will play.” When we sit at 8 pm to play, he feels sleepy. These are all the positive and negative sides.
Issues in School/College Education
At school level, the medium of education is a big issue. It should not have been a problem, but it has become a problem. There are some 50-58 thousands Government schools having no student strength. Even poor lady wants to send her child to private English medium school paying their money than to sending to free government schools. Parents have a mindset to send their children to English medium schools. Many village schools hardly have 8 students and 5 teachers. The only reason is medium of instruction. English language is being taught. Teacher would not know English and not even a student /politician /leader /minister. These things need to be discussed/reviewed/understood. It is a false impression that students who study in English medium till SSLC excel. Give student a book and he can’t read. Today he neither can read Kannada newspaper nor can speak fluent Kannada. He has lost everything. This should not have happened. At my age of 8 or 10 we used to get Kannada newspapers Thai Naadu and Samyuktha Karnataka, my brother used to get it and I used to read it. My grandson, 11, can’t read Kannada nor The Hindu newspaper. What is this?
In one stroke of order I started 184 new colleges, till then it was only 158 Colleges. Newly started colleges were 184. All these new 184 colleges are now running very well. I go to these colleges to study the strength and found there are 2000-3000 students studying. Many places I have asked the students.”If this college was not there, what you would have been doing?” Reply received was, especially in rural colleges girls’ strength is more, they would say, “Our father or mother would have arranged the marriage and sent us away if the college was not there!” I would consider this as one of my most important achievements among others which helps whole society, spread over the state.
As told to:
India School News
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About Shri D. H. Shankaramurthy (summary from Wikipedia)
Mr. D. H. Shankaramurthy is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Karnataka, India. He has been Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council since 2010.
He hails from Shimoga, Karnataka. He was born on 30 April 1940 to Sri.Hanumanthappa and Smt.Kamakshamma. He completed his graduation in Science from Mysore University. Since 1966 he is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He then joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and served as District General Secretary and State General Secretary of the party.
His active participation in “Bangla Sathyagraha” led hm to imprisonment in ‘Tihar Jail’. He also underwent detention in Belgaum prison for 19 months during the Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act ., MISA.
He became the first state General Secretary, BJP in 1980 and Chairman, Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) in 1984. During his tenure at KMF he introduced yeomen service to promote Milk and other dairy products. In 1988 he was elected for the first time as Member of Karnataka Legislative Council from South West Graduates Constituency. Later he has been elected for next four more consecutive terms 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2012.
During 2002-2004 he was also the Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council where he shouldered his responsibilities in well-organized and disciplined manner maintaining prestige of the House. He held the position of Cabinet Minister in the BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in 2006. He was responsible for esteemed Higher Education portfolio under which he approved and established 184 Degree Colleges. Through this initiative he successfully brought a radical and impressive change in the State’s educational infrastructure. He provided access to education, right of every youth in the country.
In May 2008, post victory in BJP he became Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board (an Apex Advisory body of the Government). He administers “Karnataka Vision – 2020” document creation that was instrumental in all-round development of the State. In addition, his guidance at SPB attained more powers and responsibilities in alliance with protocols of Planning Commission of India
He was collectively elected as the Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council on 5 July 2010. He is serving the Council for the second consecutive term. He is recognized across the political parties in the country for his honesty, integrity and intellect. He is only one who occupied all the coveted positions in the Legislative Council in the history of politics ie., Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the House (Minister) and Chairman of the same house.
He is instrumental in establishing a huge statue of Father of the Nation in Meditation Posture (tallest in the world) in between Vidhana Soudha and Vikas Soudha. He mooted the plan to renovate the Council ; he introduced suit culture in the house.