Published: 11th November 2022
Nostalgia pulls at President Murmu's heartstrings as she visits alma mater in Bhubaneswar
"The students in our time studied with a free mind. I appeal to you to work hard and concentrate on your studies," said Murmu, who feels present-day children as "fortunate"
For most students, school days are the best and the most memorable days filled with memories, whether sweet or bitter. Recollecting those memories and feeling nostalgic is what President Droupadi Murmu was feeling when she visited Unit-II Government Girls' High School in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
On November 10, the president turned emotional as she sat on the cot on which she used to sleep during her student days in the 1970s. On her second day of the Odisha tour, she visited her alma mater and Kuntala Kumari Sabat Adivasi Hostel, which was her home at the time. She also met 13 of her own classmates, students of her school and teachers, as stated in a report by PTI.
Her day started off by visiting the Tapabana High School at Khandagiri in the city. Recalling her school days, Murmu said, "I started my schooling at Uparbeda village. There was no school building, but a thatched house where we used to study." Terming present-day children as fortunate, she said, "We used to sweep classrooms, clean the school premises with cow dung. The students in our time studied with a free mind. I appeal to you to work hard and concentrate on your studies."
Further, interacting with girl students, Murmu said, "In our time, there were no such facilities like internet, television and other provisions to know the world outside us. As such, I do not have any role models from outside. My grandmother was my role model. I have seen how she used to help people, particularly women in our area. My grandmother was mentally very strong and I learnt a lot from her life."
Later, Murmu reached her alma mater — Unit-II Government Girls' High School — where she studied from Class VIII to XI and when she entered the premises waving at the people, she was greeted by the school children. She also visited the Kuntala Kumari Sabat Adivasi Girls Hostel where she stayed while studying at the state-run school for four years — from 1970 to 1974. Giving details about this visit, a teacher said, "When we showed the President her room and the cot on which she used to sleep during her student days, she turned emotional and sat on the same bed for a while." Murmu also planted a sapling on the premises of the Hostel.
Catching up with classmates
A retired college teacher and Murmu's classmate, Chinmayee Mohanty, said, "It was a different moment in our lives that the President of India asked to see us. We cannot express the feeling and we are so happy after meeting the country's first citizen, who was our classmate during our school days." She added, "We are really proud to have such a great friend. However, we could not talk much even as the President came close to us. She clicked photographs with us."
Later, the president took to Twitter and shared her experience. "It was a nostalgic moment today when I visited my alma mater Government Girls High School and Kuntalakumari Sabat Adivasi Girls Hostel in Bhubaneswar. The visit brought back many fond memories of my student life."