Duty Is God: Dhenkanal Teacher Who Wades Through Neck-Deep Water Daily To Reach School

Even when Dhenkanal witnesses heavy showers and rivers get flooded, Binodini Samal, a teacher in Odapada of Dhenkanal district is seen wading through neck-deep flood water of Sapua river, saving her school bag in one hand above the muddy water to reach the 53 students waiting for her in the school. For her, ‘Duty is God’.

The inspiring journey has not only set an example for other teachers, but earned her accolades from all quarters. Despite all odds, she hasn’t missed a single class over the last 10 years. This daily sacrifice, she feels, will have a greater impact on her students.

No sooner than a video showing Binodini braving the flood waters to reach school went viral on social media, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan took to Twitter and said, “Binodini’s selfless service and dedication is an inspiration for all in the teaching fraternity.”

For the 53 students in the school, Binodini happens to be the lone teacher. She says that she is used to it but it gets difficult for her to cross the river during this time of the season when the water current is strong.

“If I don’t go to school, how will my students study? But problems are plenty. Once while crossing the river, I was swept away by the strong current. Somehow I managed to hold the branch of a tree on the river bank. Still I am not perturbed,’’ she says in a tone of dedication.

In the process, Binodini has to change her saree after reaching the school every day. “The saree which I wear while commuting becomes completely wet. So I have kept a dry set of clothes in school where I change after reaching. Though my position is not permanent in the school, it has in no way deterred my commitment as a teacher. For me, Duty is God,” she says with conviction rare to find.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Rathiapala villagers have lodged complaints with the district administration for construction of a bridge over the river many a time, but their demands have fallen on deaf ears.