VISAKHAPATNAM: In a remarkable display of empathy and determination, 13-year-old Dheeraj Dontamsetty has undertaken a mission to teach children the proper pronunciation and rhythmic nuances of the national song Vande Mataram and the national anthem Jana Gana Mana. Drawing on his own experience as a singer and fuelled by his observation of fellow youngsters struggling with the national anthem, Dheeraj has set out on an inspiring journey to share his music talent and enrich the lives of others.
Reflecting on his motivation, Dheeraj revealed, “When my family and I visited a rescue shelter a few years ago, I noticed that many children were unable to sing Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana with precision due to lack of proper teaching. I felt a deep sense of responsibility to impart the skills I possess and help these children express their patriotism confidently. After all, sharing is caring.”
Dheeraj, who is also a passionate photographer with a deep love for birds, has spent the past two years capturing their beauty through his lens. However, during that time, he noticed a distressing decline in the bird population and a concerning lack of attention given to their basic needs of water and food.
In response, wherever Dheeraj goes to teach Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana, he makes it a point to provide seeds and earthen pots to the children and local people, ensuring that the birds get access to nourishment and hydration. “Supplying food and water to the birds requires minimal effort on our part. With climate change affecting us in numerous ways, it is important to prioritise the well-being of birds and other living creatures to maintain a thriving biodiversity,” he felt.
Dheeraj’s parents instilled in him a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment and the community from a young age. Each year, on his birthday, they would plant a sapling, and they would also take him to old age homes, orphanages and rescue shelters. These experiences shaped Dheeraj’s outlook on life, and he made it his mission to care for the saplings he planted, finding joy in watching them grow into healthy trees.
Inspired by his own experiences, Dheeraj began to motivate and encourage those around him to adopt the practice of planting a sapling on their special occasions, emphasising the importance of maintaining a greener environment. Dheeraj’s remarkable motivational campaign stands out due to his personal financial contribution. He generously utilises his own funds to conduct these campaigns and procure materials to distribute them to the public.
His talent has extended beyond his philanthropic endeavours as he won the prestigious title of Padutha Theeyaga in 2018 and emerged as a finalist in Super Singer in 2022. Through occasional performances in diverse programmes, he harnesses the earnings for the betterment of society. “Irrespective of my future accomplishments, my unwavering commitment will be to inspire those around me to embrace a better way of life,” Dheeraj asserted.