MUBEEN Shaikh, 64, a retired Marathi teacher at the Urdu medium school where Hasnain Warekar studied from Class VIII to X, remembered him as a good student and felt he might have been “misguided and turned into this horrible monster”.
Remembering Warekar, who on Sunday killed 14 members of his family and then hanged himself, said it could be a case of “Valmiki turning into Ratnakar”.
As a teacher, Shaikh would often refer to the tale of Maharishi Valmiki — who was Ratnakar, a robber, in his early life — in class.
“Here was a good student who may have been misguided and turned into this horrible monster, if what they say is true,” said Shaikh, who retired from the Anjuman Khairul Islam Urdu High School in Thane in 2013.
“He was so sincere in class that I once selected him as the ‘class teacher’ on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.” The common custom in the school was for every teacher to choose one top student to play the role of the teacher on this day, and Shaikh had selected Warekar. He finished his Class X board exam in 1995-1996.
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“While it was not meant to be a serious thing, Warekar actually prepared quite well. I remember he had prepared on Marathi grammar, a tough subject, and right before class he was consulting with me regarding the notes he had prepared. He took the assignment seriously,” Shaikh said.
A peon in the school, Noor bhai, said Warekar studied till Class VII in a school in the Kasarwadavli village, the only school then in what was then a much more rural setting than it is today. The school was not far from the house where the horror unfolded late Saturday night.
“Kasarwadavli students who wanted to study beyond Class VII came to our school and Warekar was one such student. He performed well and was also ‘headboy’ of the school for three years,” Noor remembered.
The distance from Kasarwadavli to the school is around eight km and eight or 10 students from the village would come to the Anjuman Khairul school. “In the 90s, there was no proper bus network and the classes would start at 7.30 am. The boys coming from Kasarwadavli would normally turn up late, but not Hasnain. That’s why I made Hasnain the ‘leader’, whose responsibility was to wake up students of Kasarwadavli early every morning to ensure they reach school on time,” the retired teacher said.
Warekar, quite the teachers’ pet, would reportedly squeal on students’ misdemeanours. “He would tell me which student called me boring, which students would wait back in school just to see the girls who attended school in the subsequent batch. He would also tell me which students did not wake up on time. For these reasons, some students had threatened him in school too,” a teacher said.
In the three years he spent there, Warekar cultivated a style of leadership, getting along with those who listened to him.
Sports was his weak spot. Shaikh, who also doubled up as PT teacher, said Warekar would play kabaddi and cricket but would be discouraged at watching those who excelled on the sports grounds.
“I last met him three months back. He had come to attend a wedding in my locality. He told me that after school, he had completed his graduation and also done a Master’s degree. I was so proud of what he had achieved after schooling in Urdu-medium,” Shaikh said.
On Sunday evening when he switched on the television, all the teachers could think of was the tale of Valmiki and Ratnakar that he used to recount in class.