For 29-year-old Rajnikant Mendhe, education is of paramount importance. A resident of Pune, Rajnikant would travel about 50 km to the remote village of Chandar to teach 12 students. The last 12 km stretch of the journey was a mud road that would add to the challenge.
But he endured it for eight long years. In this period, most of the students dropped out from the school to pursue higher studies in a neighbouring village. Some girls even shifted to Gujarat to earn instead of continuing their education. Only one student, eight-year-old Yuvraj Sangale remained in the school.
The dedication of Rajnikant has now become instrumental in bringing electricity to Chandar!
Located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, Chandar is a small hamlet of about 46 households and was almost entirely disconnected from other villages. Since Rajnikant did not let any of these challenges come in the way of teaching his student, the news made waves in Maharashtra.
The story of this lone crusader was shared across social media and WhatsApp groups, and finally caught the attention of Sanjeev Kumar—the Chairman and Managing Director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL). Kumar knew something needed to be done to help the student and his fellow villagers.
“I read the news report which was widely shared on the WhatsApp group of Maharashtra IAS officers.
I was moved by the story of this teacher and his lone student and felt that such unwavering dedication should be rewarded. So I told the Pune office to send our staff there and provide electricity,” Kumar told the Times of India.
Taking the orders from Kumar, officials from MSEDCL started installing line poles and distribution transformers, not only in Chandar but also in the neighbouring hamlets of Takewasti and Digewasti. It took the distribution company just seven days to bring electricity to around 70 households.
Rajnikant told The Better India, “Initially when the news was published, they (MSEDCL) contacted me through Mr Konde, their wireman, and I gave them all the information they wanted about the village and its condition. I would like to mention that the team of officials, workers and labourers worked very hard, and the villagers also helped out.”
That said, it wasn’t an easy task for the officials to get water supply and the poles to a hamlet that has no rudimentary roads. Nishikant Raut, a public relations officer with MSEDCL, said, “The last 15 km of the track to Chandar was crumbling raw soil—impossible for any vehicle to travel over.
Only a jeep that too after it was packed with ten people was able to reach close to the hamlet. The rest of it was covered on foot.”
Getting electricity to Chandar, Takewasti and Digewasti took 60 skilled workers, three supply lines and 65 line poles. The primary school where Rajnikant teaches Yuvraj was among the first structures to get electricity.
Most of the houses in these hamlets are simple and made of mud and bamboo. So, the distribution company will be required to take extra precautions to electrify the village.
Sanjay Taksande, the regional director of MSEDCL in Pune said, “Proper measures are being taken to install the power meter and service wire to the remaining houses. The villagers will also be told about power safety measures. All the houses will get electricity in the next 15 days.”
This story of a teacher’s dedication is certainly inspirational, and goes to show how one good deed will eventually lead to another. Rajnikant cannot find words to express how he feels about this development. “It has been eight years since I have been working in Chandar, and I never thought that this would happen,” he told The Better India. On a lighter vein, he adds, “Finally, Thomas Edison is feeling peaceful in heaven as electricity has reached Chandar.”
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)