Published: 16th August 2020
How English prof Mohammad Azam is making Telangana's young more environmentally lit
An Assistant Professor of English might be Mohammad Azam's designation but he does a whole lot more. We find out more about the prof who teaches environmental consciousness through seminars
There are two people who have inspired Mohammad Azam to tread the path he is on today. Mother Teresa and Daripalli Ramaiah. It was in class VII, when the Cheerlavancha-born (a village in Telangana) was required to pen an essay on the Nobel Peace Prize winner. He ended up reading so much about Saint Teresa of Calcutta that he was bubbling with inspiration. He joined the National Green Corps (NGC) in school and then, the National Service Scheme (NSS) in college. "I was attracted to the service and discipline that the both of them advocated for," shares Azam. His dedication and participation in programmes like blood donations, plantation drives in and spreading awareness about population control earned him the Indira Gandhi NSS Award from former President of India Pranab Mukherjee.
Meeting Daripalli Ramaiah | (Pic: Mohammad Azam)
Then there was Daripalli Ramaiah, also known as Chetla (trees) Ramaiah, who was awarded the Padma Shri for his invaluable contribution in extending the green cover in and around Khammam. "In just a 40-minute conversation with him, I felt so inspired. I had been thinking about launching my own NGO for a long time. A couple of years ago, I did set-up my own organisation. I requested him to launch it and he did!" recalls the 29-year-old excitedly. That's how, in March 2018, Dharti Bachaoa (Help Earth) came to be.
He was also awarded the Pratibha Puraskar award by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Rashtriya Gaurav Samman Award
With the help of Gram Panchayats and about 12-15 student volunteers, Azam, who is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Jayamukhi Institute of Technological Sciences, Warangal, spread awareness about constructing soak pits to increase groundwater levels in Chintalkunta, Gandhinagar and Padmarao Nagar. "We also distributed pamphlets that contained information about the construction of these pits — about 150 families constructed them," says Azam who informs that this activity was carried out in May and June of 2018. He also visited about 20 educational institutions and helped them start eco clubs. Then, there were the rallies he carried out in Karimnagar during World Water Day as well as the awareness he spread about saying no to plastic and so on. Participants of these rallies were students, government schools and degree college students.
Meeting activist Anna Hazare and Governor of Telangana Tamilisai Soundararajan | (Pic: Mohammad Azam)
The pandemic has now tied Azam's hands when it comes to carrying out more and more activities, but he still manages to conduct online sessions to motivate students, help build their confidence and teach them the power of positive thinking. He has conducted about five of these and over 120 students have attended it. "Upon my continuous interaction with students, I understood that if we ask them to plant a sapling, they will, but will they really carry forward the environment-conscious spirit throughout their life? I don't think so. They are not very eager to contribute towards the environment or the nation, that spirit is lacking," feels the PhD-holder. But Azam's dream of lighting the same spark of inspiration that drives him every day, in youngsters too, remains undeterred.
At a rally | (Pic: Mohammad Azam)
How much more can Azam do? Check it out:
- Seminar on Gandhian values at Vaageswari College of Engineering
- Seminar on World Earth Day at Telangana Tribal Welfare Junior College
- Seminar on World Water Day at University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Awareness session on water conservation methods at SRR Government Arts and Science College
For more on him, check out facebook.com/mohd.azam.50115