Sharmili Mallick

‘The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires’—as said by William Arthur Ward, a teacher should not be confined to only the teaching and learning process. A teacher’s work is also to encourage students to work for the larger interest of society.

On this Teachers’ Day, OTV has come up with the story of two persons- a retired teacher from Keonjhar and a retired doctor from Dhenkanal, who apart from teaching, work towards the safeguard of the environment and also encourage people to do so.

Niranjan Sahoo, a retired teacher of Tangara village under Anandapur Sub-Division in Keonjhar district could be often seen brooming and carrying out plantation drive around the village and school campus while his students are seen following his footsteps.

He has also been sensitizing the villagers to practice yoga for a healthy life and give away open defecation to keep the environment clean.

Bibekananda Behera, a former student of Niranjan who has been helping the latter in plantation and conducting cleanliness drives in the region said, “When I was studying in school, Niranjan Sir used to teach us how to keep the environment clean and safe. Now, after I became a teacher, I am encouraging my students to do the same. Sir is my ideal,” he added.

“Keeping the environment clean is my passion and I dedicate two hours of my day towards that every day. I collect polythene thrown away on road and encourage my students not to throw plastics on road and open spaces. I have also asked my students to plant a tree and take care of it,” said Niranjan.

74-year-old Nimai Charan Sahoo, residing at Mahavir Market in Dhenkanal Town is a doctor by profession but he says that planting trees is his passion. After his retirement, he has dedicated his life toward planting trees and creating jungle in the town. He has planted over 50,000 species of trees till date. 

“I have been planting trees since I was a child. All the Bakul trees inside the old premises of Dhenkanal Hospital have been planted by me with the help of a staff,” said Nimai.

Jyoti Patnaik, a local resident said, “Apart from serving mankind, he has been working to save the environment by planting trees. He is working towards making Dhenkanal green and we all have also come forward to work for the same cause.”

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)