Inspired by Swami Vivekanand, here is a visually impaired teacher who runs a coaching school for civil/public service aspirants from deprived families
Ajay Mittal, Meerut
Jagdish Luthra (66), born visually impaired, and so ostracised by most of his family members in his childhood, never thought of as someone fit for academics, rose to be one of the best teachers, in and around Meerut, of languages, general studies and reasoning, subjects of competitive examinations for recruitment to administrative and army services, besides of course for Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate degrees. He runs a coaching school, Rosemary Academy, at Meerut for UG and PG students, mostly those aspiring for IAS, PCS and army officers’ job. What makes Luthra stand apart from others in the profession is his passion of helping the indigent students who cannot pay their tuition fee. Luthra not only does not take a single rupee from them, but gives scholarships to the talented ones to enable them to make their livings during coaching itself or afterwards.
The story of his life struggle is by all means highly inspiring and motivating in itself. How he overcame his handicap, and shaped himself as an excellent teacher, is incredible. But that apart, his compassion for the under-privileged and his incessant and unselfish work for them make him almost a living legend, as many of his ex-students prefer to call him. The 'mehri' (housemaid) Meena, who has been working at Luthra's home for 25 years, is now the proud mother of two sons— one teaching engineering at a college in Meerut and the other running a reputed business in Haldwani (Uttarakhand). Luthra taught the two without a fee. He also gave some monetary help to the second one to establish his business. Mina is all praise for the selfless helps showered by Luthra on her family.
Similar is the story of two sons of Rajesh, a
rickshaw-puller. With Luthra's magnanimity, one of his sons could become a chartered accountant and the other could be a wealthy property-dealer. Both have themselves imbibed the virtue of helping the needy ones in the society. Kamini Kaushal, a widow working as a peon in some school, had three girls one of whom was physically handicapped. She never thought of getting her educated. On the other hand, she wished the girl could die early to avoid a more miserable life later on. Thanks to Luthra, that handicapped girl is now a Head Mistress at a government junior high school. Kamini's eyes turn moist when the name of Jagdishji is mentioned.
Rinku, the son of a rag-picker, could never imagine to become computers lab in-charge of a university if he had not come into Jagdishji's contact in his early years. He is working at Subharti University in Meerut and himself idolises Luthraji and his ideals in life. Such stories can be multiplied many-fold. There are more than a thousand families, says Colonel Amardeep Tyagi, himself a disciple of Luthra, whom he calls 'guruji' with affection, who were taken out of the morass of utter poverty and put on the track to prosperity during the last more than three decades. “Guruji is a living legend, he is like a god to these thousands of people”, he says with a voice choked with emotion.
What has been the inspiration for Jagdishji in his own life? It was Swami Vivekanand says he himself. He read the literature of Swami Vivekanand in Braille during his
adolescence and idolised him. His immortal words “Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached” have been his guiding spirit all through. The burning sense of sympathy that he feels for the poor comes as much from that Hindu monk as from his own life experiences. Luthra has portraits of Swamiji and Ma Sarda (the wife of Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans) in his Academy all over. Whatever he is doing, he is fulfilling Vivekanand's mission in a humble way, he feels.