On bypoll campaign trail, minister ‘uncle’ gets dropouts back to school

On Tuesday, Mallappa was beaming as he entered the new school. 

Published: 04th December 2019 06:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2019 11:15 AM   |  A+A-

Mallappa and Devaraj, children of construction workers, attend a government school at Kurubarahalli | Shriram BN

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Monday was just another day for two young boys who were spending their time playing and frolicking near their shed at Kurubarahalli in Mahalakshmi Layout. But a chance meeting with an 'uncle' changed all that.The 'uncle' was Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Suresh Kumar who was campaigning for his party candidate for Thursday's bypoll.

When he learnt that the boys had dropped out of school, the minister ensured that they were admitted to the Government Higher Primary School at Kurubarahalli in a matter of hours.

At 9.30 am sharp on Tuesday, Mallappa (8) and his older brother Devaraj (10) were at the school. Their father Devappa, a construction worker, dropped them off before heading to the work site. Asked how it happened, Mallappa explained that he and his brother were out playing when they spotted a large number of people nearby.

Driven by curiosity, they walked up to see what the brouhaha was all about. "That's when uncle asked us what we were doing at that hour. He asked us if we would like to join school and we happily agreed,'' said Mallappa, who was unaware that he had spoken to Minister Suresh Kumar.

The boy would constantly ask his parents to put him in a school, but they had not been able to do so for many months.Devappa and his wife were earlier working at a construction site at Malathahalli in Ullal.

After the work was completed, the family moved to Kurubarahalli where the couple got jobs at another construction site. Mallappa was a Class 1 student while Devaraj was studying in Class 5 at the Government School at Malathahalli, but they had to drop out when their parents moved to Kurubarahalli.On Tuesday,

Mallappa was beaming as he entered the new school. "I love going to school and learning. Carrying my old schoolbag, I came to school with appa (father) and anna (brother). The teacher taught us numbers and alphabets. My mother makes jowar roti and 'palya' every day, which is our staple food. But, at school, they gave 'pulav', which was very tasty. I also made a few friends here and it is fun,'' he said.

Devaraj too was excited over rejoining school. "My parents leave home at 6 am and return at 6 pm. My mother prepares food and leaves for work. Me and my brother would spend all day at home or on the street playing. We would eat when we are hungry. I am happy to start schooling again. I am in Class 5 and missed classes all these days. My teacher has promised to teach me whatever I have missed,'' he said.

Asked what they aim to be when they grow up, the brothers in unison said they want to become police officers. On what influenced them, Devaraj said they saw many policemen in their locality over the last few weeks (he does even know they were deployed for election) they were drawn by the uniform and caps.

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