By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Dr R S Praveen Kumar is one of the most outstanding minds of our country. If I were to speak about him, I can only say, he deserves to be in the Ministry for Education. No one in my memory in the last couple of decades has influenced the lives of children of the most marginalised communities as his dedicated work in Telangana. Today.
His has revolutionised the life of the students from the marginalised sections. You will not find a matching effort anywhere in India where the government schools and Ambedkar hostels have been able to show you the strength of what a government can do if it has the right intent.
Dr R S Praveen Kumar is currently Secretary, Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) which runs 268 educational institutions in the state. More than 500 students of these residential schools cracked JEE last year. The average result of the institution is much above the state’s average results in secondary and higher secondary boards.
Hundreds of students are now joining medical studies from these institutions. The girls from marginalised sections are now getting recruited as pilots in commercial planes and some of them actually even climbed Mount Everest. It clearly indicate that Dr R S Praveen Kumar has been able to bring dreams and aspiration in the lives of thousands of Dalit Adivasi students from Telananga region. They are now pursuing higher education and have been aiming high.
I had the opportunity to visit his programmes and in fact I wish I have more time to spent with them. I participated in annual events of the students and found them extremely bright. I wish that the state government, which feels that students from the marginalised sections should be encouraged and promoted at all levels, must consult Dr Praveen Kumar. I always felt why the parties, organisations, government which claimed to be led by the Bahujans never ever seek services of the likes of Dr Praveen Kumar.
Being an IPS officer, Dr Praveen Kumar could have enjoyed his stint as a police officer but after doing his research from Harvard when he returned India, he decided to dedicate his life for the cause of education of the marginalised and the result of his work is extremely impressive. It is this work, which needs to be replicated elsewhere. Also important is to acknowledge and respect him.
I have not been following much of the news these days hence missed the calumny and slander being launched by the BJP inspired groups in Telangana against Dr R S Praveen Kumar. I can only say that as the students from marginalised sections are competing and proving themselves better there is a fear of the ‘pride’ of the power elite that has enjoyed power at the cost of the poor. Praveen Kumar’s students don’t weep, dont cry, don’t complain but they are made to believe in themselves and their strength. I interacted with a number of these students and they are simply impressive with a zeal to reach the heights. They aspire, they work harder and they prove.
I can only say that the Telangana government must not succumb to this slander against Dr R S Praveen Kumar. He has revolutionised education and he should be involved in much bigger exercise. As I said earlier, he deserves to be the Education Minister of India and I can say, he can bring big changes for all. You need innovative ideas and not those caged in past glories and sorrows. We all need to move ahead.
At no point of time, Dr Praveen Kumar spoke of hatred. Why should he speak of that. He has proved his worth and doing things which none of his contemporaries have done so far. It is a conspiracy to blame him for hurting the religious sentiments of ‘particular’ communities. This is nothing but a complete farce.
We all know 22 vows of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar during the historic Deeksha ceremony in Nagpur on October 14th, 1956. His fight was not against a particular religion but he wanted the Dalits to give up the religion which he felt exploited. He knew well that our customs are so discriminatory that poor communities are trapped in it. So, he redefined things for common persons. Baba Saheb revolutionised our ideals and life. One should feel shy about this as anyone who follows Baba Saheb Ambedkar will always delink himself from the brahmanical system. An assertive Ambedkarite will be the biggest challenge to brahmanical system. It seems that the power elite in Telangana is unable to digest the successes of the marginalised sections of society and hence they have launched this campaign against Dr R S Praveen Kumar. It is also important to understand that the role of state is important in shaping the lives of people and that is why the concept of welfare state is important. Dr Praveen Kumar has been able to bring these changes because the government in Telangana gave him a free hand and for this the government deserves kudos. We hope the Talangana government will continue to support his work so that it becomes the state where Dalits feel empowered.
The leaders, academics, journalists, revolutionaries in north India particularly should learn from the approach of Dr R S Praveen Kumar and creating an environment for the Dalit Adivasi students in Telangana where they are excelling. It is time for all of us to stand up and speak up to defend the work of Dr R S Praveen Kumar. So far his work has spoken more than him but it is time now for the people to stand with him so that the institution that he has created and built with so much of passion is protected and continues to bring success and happiness in the lives of children from marginalised communities.
Salute to the great work of Dr R S Praveen Kumar. We stand in solidarity with you.
*Human rights defender