A teacher's greatness lies in the achievements of his disciples. Gopinath Sethi, who has been voluntarily serving the nation with his blood and sweat by nurturing protectors for the country over the last two decades exactly typifies such a character.
Sethi Sir, as he is fondly known by scores of his pupils, is a name that is synonymous to the defence and police service in Odisha. All because he continues to impart free training to youths who wants to protect the sovereignty of the country.
During the last 20 years, Bhubaneswar-based Gopinath Sethi's discipline and dedication, both hallmark of a soldier, have not lost their sheen even a bit. Even now, he reaches Kalinga Stadium every morning where he assiduously hardens his students both from muscle and mind, bit by bit.
But what makes him so unique and esteemed among his student base is his never-die attitude. Even in the face of pandemic, when outsiders were barred from entry into Kalinga Stadium, Sethi Sir shifted his training session to a roadside where he still trains the young guns including many girls.
To provide training at par with the coaching needed to crack various national and state level exams, he has innovated various equipment to help the aspirants achieve the level of fitness, endurance and strength.
Under his guidance, more than 5000 students have cleared various competitive exams and secured their places in uniformed forces such as the Army, the Navy, BSF, CISF, and Odisha Police. But the selfless man has never charged a single penny from any aspirant.
One of his students, Kajal Bag, who recently made it to the Odisha Police as a Sub-Inspector, owed her success to him. Kajal recalled how she on the reference of her senior colleague had come to Sethi for her physical exam preparation after clearing the written test.
"After my prelims, the release of the physical exam date made me wonder how to condition my body for the intense test. Later, I when learnt about Sethi Sir's free training camp, I immediately flew in. Nearly three months of rigorous training under his tutelage helped me successfully clear the exam," said an elated Kajal.
While Sethi may look like a battle-hardened war veteran with no room for soft hearts on the first instance, Sourabh Kumar Singh, an aspirant from Bihar like many others from outside of Odisha, who seek out Sethi's guidance, sheds light on another side of his different personality, one that is with full of love and care.
"I have been training under Sethi Sir for around one and half years. He looks after us like his own kids," narrates an emotional Sourabh.
After serving the government, a retired Gopinath Sethi begun his journey in the service of the nation with an aim to give fitness training to unemployed educated youths so that they can achieve something in life.
Now after over two decades of relentless pursuit of perfection in carving men of steel, Sethi is very much proud of his students' success and feels blessed to have been able to contribute to their success story.
On his journey so far, Sethi said, "I started coaching students from 2002, and many of them have gone to adorn various posts in the line of defence and police. Last year, 10 students cleared Army, BSF, CISF and SSB."
Among numerous other recognitions for his life-long service for the betterment of the nation, Sethi has been awarded for imparting free but rigorous training to hundreds of defence aspirants. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has felicitated him 'Odisha Ra Bara Putra Award' for his service towards society.