Arun Kumar Bhatia is not just any teacher, he is one special 'Sir' of Ghevra village of Delhi. He is someone for whom the entire village stood up and got his government transfer overturned.
Bhatia was transferred to government school of some other village just because he denied the leave request of daughter-in-law of an MLA. As a result, he was manhandled by the big shot.
But this village was determined enugh to not let go their beloved ‘Bhatia Sir.' He had been a ‘messiah' to them; he had been someone who catapulted not only the school of the village but the perspective of all the villagers towards education. He had been someone who changed the tin-shade Government Sarvodaya Co-ed Senior Secondary School into a real temple of learning and someone who brought education to each home and each girl of the village.
The 51-year-old ‘Bhatia Sir' had been no less than a boon to the village. Two years ago, he took over as the Vice-principal of the school and today, he might not have been able to turn the tin roofs and peeling plasters into concrete structure yet he, with his dozens of tit-bit efforts, had made the school, the best one of the entire area. Now the parents are taking their kids out of private schools and admitting them in this one.
With many small efforts, he has added the real value to the otherwise mundane education and its system in the village. Creative corners in classes, chart papers on the stained walls, news-reading exercises in the morning, quizzes and word-of-the-day posts to boost vocabulary of kids of all standards alike are some of the costless things that he did to add a worthless meaning to the education.
Apart from this, he had been strong enough to face the bigger issues as well. Problems like sexual harassment and focus on sports and academics alike were dealt by him strongly. A wall was built between to separate boys from girls, teachers were motivated and as one of them remembers, the school girls were taken for their first metro ride by him.
The latest one to mention, this stalwart of Ghevra introduced a parallel high-school programme in English medium from April 2014. Now the students don't have to leave the school to seek education in English, they can get it under the same roof.
No one in the entire village wants this Sir to go now. From school children to their parents to rest of the village, the entire village sat in protest to get the great teacher's transfer order overturned.
Many of them were appalled by the transformation that the school has seen. Since 15 years, it was in tattered condition, both externally and intrinsically yet today, though externally its still the same but the core values, the education, the learning has definitely changed.
Bhatia had many other options apart from the school. He cleared the Civil Services Exams in 1994 however, he says, its passion that brings him back to the chalk, duster and blackboard.
Recently, he refused to grant leave to the daughter-in-law of the AAP MLA from Mundka – Sukhbir Dalal. A resident of the village who is also one of the protesters standing against Bhatia's transfer orders told to a leading daily that the daughter-in-law of the MLA registered some complaint with the MLA and got Bhatia transferred. He told that the principal was moved a week ago.
However, the MLA in controversy denies the charges. He says, “This is nonsense. Vice-principals of eight schools have been transferred. The other parties are spreading these charges.”
Though, when Bhatia got the orders to move to the nearby village Savda Ghevra on April 23, he diligently obeyed. But the protesters, virtually the entire village, do not want him to go. The protests continued even till today morning. Even the mid-day meal was served outside.
One of the protesters, a resident of the village said, “If the department hadn't reinstated Sir, we would have blocked trains.”
After the panchayat met on Sunday, hundreds of villagers including the members of the school management committee (SMC) and the Vidyalaya Kalyan Samiti (VKS) blocked the road.
Finally, after these protests the education department reinstated him at noon on Monday.