A government primary school teacher at Vadgam in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district has been foregoing his one-month salary for the last 10 years to compensate for the time he might have lost either by getting late to school, meeting officials and guests during school hours or extending discussions during break time.
Bashir Mohammad Mukhi (42), a lower primary teacher, has spent more than half of his life in teaching. He is one of the ten staff members at Hardevasana government primary school at Vadgam in the tribal district of Banaskantha which was established in 1955 with nearly 300 students. By choosing to forgo his one-month salary for 10 years, Bashir has given back over Rs 4.5 lakh to his school and the society. Bashir’s act has earned the school attention from the education department officials and “inspired” teachers at the nearby government schools.
For the last 10 years, Bashir has been taking one-month “leave without pay”, but has been coming to the school and teaching during the month, not accepting his one-month salary (Rs 45,000) every year. “Bashirbhai believes that he is accountable for each minute that he is paid for. He says that he is paid for six hours. And since he doesn’t get to utilise every minute of those six hours teaching, which is unintentional, he feels the need to compensate for the minutes not spent in teaching. Teachers and principals from the neighbouring villages enquire about him and say they are motivated by his dedication,” says school principal Ganeshbhai Patel.
Inspired by Bashir, other teachers have also started “giving back to the society” in a similar manner. “Seeing him, now other school staff also take 10-15 days leave without pay, but continue coming to the school to teach. This has not only lifted the morale of the entire school staff, but also sent a good message to students and villagers,” adds Patel.
Bashir, however, refuses to talk about his “mission”. He feels that what he’s doing is part of his “duty” and “nothing extraordinary”. And, therefore, this doesn’t merit “publicity”.
Bashir was recently felicitated by the Cluster Resource Centre (CRC) and Block Resource Centre (BRC) co-ordinators for his dedication. The story of his unparalleled dedication and sacrifice has spread to other districts as well. “The department has felicitated him for his work. He’s not only honest, but also a sincere teacher who believes in giving the most to the society through his profession,” said Kiritsinh Vaghela, CRC co-ordinator.
One of his colleagues, Sikandar Tunvar, an upper primary language teacher who knows Bashir for the last six years, says that he and other staff members draw inspiration from him. “Bashirbhai is posted in this school since 2005 and I know him for the last six years since I came to this school.
Despite giving service to this school for one month without taking salary, he is also the first to reach school every day. He comes 30 minutes before school time to prepare for the day and also helps students to solve their problems,” said Tunvar. To honour Bashir’s noble act, the school plans to request the education department to utilise Bashir’s contribution for some social cause.