Published: 05th December 2019
A loss to education, womankind: Former MOP Principal Nirmala Prasad passes away, tributes pour in
When Nirmala entered MOP, the institute was only five years old. Prior to that, she worked in Ethiraj for almost two decades
Former MOP Vaishnav College for Women Principal, Nirmala Prasad passing away has left a huge void in the hearts of all those who had the good fortune of studying under her. Nirmala passed away after suffering a massive heart attack on Thursday morning. She had spent 16 years as a Principal in MOP which has become one of the most prolific institutes in the city, all credits to her.
When Nirmala entered MOP, the institute was only five years old. Prior to that, she worked at Ethiraj College for Women for almost two decades making the commerce department that she was heading there one of the most sought after ones in the city. Lalitha Balakrishnan, the current Principal of the college also has fond memories with Nirmala, but not just because they worked together and she succeeded her, "I was her student and then went on to work with her, eventually I took over but we always kept in touch her. So we had known each other for almost 42 years," she said.
Speaking about her time as an understudy, Lalitha said that all she had to do was observe Nirmala, that was enough for her to learn everything. Lalitha also said that Nirmala was the sort of teacher who knew everything about a student even if they didn't always know it themselves. "Even though I was only doing my Masters, she was very particular that I pursue an MBA and my PhD as well. She knew that it was important that I do both but this wasn't just me. She always knew everyone's capabilities and encouraged us to pursue what we liked and were meant to do," she explained.
After working for so many years under her. Lalitha said that she kept in touch even though Nirmala was consumed by the work of a school she was involved with. But over the last 42 years, the two also became like family, "She knew my husband, children, everyone. But it wasn't just a superficial relationship, she knew what everyone liked, didn't like. She always made it a point to know everyone and remembered every little detail," she said.
Nirmala's niece, Kaavya Krishna, also took to Facebook to write about her aunt, "I am born into a family of extraordinary women. Women who inspire me with their courage, fortitude and preeminent presence. Today, I lost not only my aunt but a remarkable role model, who set no limits for herself. She inspired generations of women to become the best version of themselves, no matter their professions, and galvanized formidable capacity to vastly improve women’s education both in Tamil Nadu and Globally." She also added that Nirmala has been transformative in her own life and has motivated her to constantly push the glass ceiling.
Another student Pavittra Aroon, who is an educator herself said that the best part about Nirmala was that she believed women could achieve anything they put their hearts to."She empowered so many young girls to achieve in various aspects of their lives. Anyone who set into college will have something to involve themselves with and learn from the same. She had a big heart, " she said.
"She was a visionary educator. She transformed the higher education sector for girls. Her passing away is truly an end of an era. Nobody can fill her shoes," she added.
An FB user referred to Nirmala as his mentor and said, "She was an ICON for many. How many hearts and souls she would have inspired, transformed and made a difference? A very dynamic and renowned educationist who developed many leaders around her and not just followers. A rare combination of boldness and kindness she was."
Popular actor and stand-up comic Sumukhi Suresh, who is an alumnus from the institute also took to Twitter to say — 'She made me in ways I can’t imagine. May she rest in peace'.
"Thanks to our HOD, Nirmala Prasad who encouraged students to pursue their interests - NCC, College culturals, etc then, quite a few of us are what we are now," said another one of her students. One other user said that Nirmala's death was a loss to womenkind and to education.
Ironically, Nirmala pursued higher education through correspondence courses and never really went to college. The first time she set foot in one, was as a professor and when she stepps out, she left as a principal. One Twitter user said she regretted never having the chance to attend college. Lalitha recalled that Nirmala always encouraged everyone to participate and lead organisations and groups, "She always believed that it was important to do so if you wanted to become a good leader." Well, she had to have known what made a good leader, after all, she was such a great one.