The day after he retired from his post, Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay went back to school. This time, however, he was positioned on the other side of the desk. Sahay, who has been in the police force for 34 years, and till April 30 held the position of DGP, Assam is now a full time Mathematics teacher at the Sonaram Higher Secondary School in Guwahati’s Bharalumukh area.
It all started when the principal of the school invited Sahay to be the guest of honour for one of their functions (a plantation program) in 2016. “I happened to tell him that we were in need of a Maths teacher,” says Dwinjendra Nath Barthakur, Principal, Sonaram Higher Secondary School. The school, established in 1894, counts former Assam Chief Minister Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi and eminent literary figure Hemchandra Goswami among their headmasters back in the day.
However, despite being one of the oldest and the most reputed schools in Assam, the students have managed without a Maths teacher since 2016. “Even though I teach Chemistry, I would pitch in and teach them Maths. So did the Statistics teacher,” says Borthakur, “And that is how we managed for two years.”
Sahay expressed an interest in the job the moment he heard of this requirement. “He even asked me to send him textbooks,” says Borthakur. This was in August 2017— which is when Sahay had planned on joining but owing to the busy nature of his job, it did not work out. The day after he retired — May 1 — he called Borthakur . On May 7, he began his new job.
“I have never worked as a teacher before — but I am a certified police trainer and that helps,” says Sahay, who born into an economically disadvantaged family in Bihar. “I used to work as a part time tutor to supplement my income in my younger days,” he says.
Sahay now teaches every day of the week, holding one hour lessons on Calculus. “The new Class XI batch will join a couple of months later, and perhaps I will begin to teach two lessons when they do,” he says, adding that a new Maths teacher has just been hired. “I am quite conversant in Calculus so it has not been too difficult, but I definitely need to do my homework every day,” he says, “We never stop learning — one must always be socially relevant, physically active and mentally engaged.”
Meanwhile, the eleven students who have chosen Mathematics as their elective in the Sonaram HS school are ecstatic that they finally have a teacher — that too someone of Sahay’s stature. “He carries on teaching like a regular person — and that is what the students like about him the most,” says Borthakur.