Jodh Singh Kanwar: A teacher par excellence

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For three and a half years, Pithoragarh has been home to teacher Jodh Singh Kunwar who teaches eight students at a primary school in the interiors of this hill district. 2nd August was just another day for the 45 year old school teacher of Kanya Junior High School, in Danibagadh, Bangapani who set off to work early morning.

Except, on that day, incessant rainfall in the area had the local sub-montane river in spate. It washed away not only the 4 megawatt hydro-project, its dam but also wiped out the only iron bridge over the Jimba-pyaana river. Left with little or no other option, Jodh Singh chose to rappel across a 30 meter zip-line aided by another man to get to school.

While the video of his feat went viral, the self-effacing teacher tells us over the phone, “I had no intention of becoming an overnight-hero by sharing this video, I had to go to school to teach and that was my only motivation. This was the shortest way to get there, as the other route was 7-8 kms long so I settled for this doable option.”

Born and brought up in the hill-district, Jodh Singh was selected under the sports category, he tells us. His physical well-being came in handy as he effortlessly rappelled across the wire, with his blue bag slung across his chest, folded shirt and pants, doing it like a pro.

Looking back, he tell us, “ I have served in the district for close to twenty three years and this was the first time ever that I was faced with a situation like this. My motivation was to get to school and not to seek unnecessary attention or prove my strength and stamina.

Taking note of the video, local MLA of the area Harish Dhami sanctioned money from his MLA fund and a temporary trolley was installed.

Every monsoon, individual stories of valour and bravery surface. Some make it as headlines in national and international news, but many are left to be unearthed by the regional press who, in this instance, did a commendable job, just like this dedicated teacher. As they say, what a teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.