English revolution: Sarpanch offers free coaching to children

First-time woman sarpanch, Mina Bisen is on a mission to make children in villages of Maoist-affected Balaghat district proficient in English language, writes Anuraag Singh.
Mina Bisen is running a free English language coaching class at the Charegaon Gram Panchayat building
Mina Bisen is running a free English language coaching class at the Charegaon Gram Panchayat building

MADHYA PRADESH: A first-time woman sarpanch who defeated two ex-female sarpanches to make her winning debut in gram panchayat polls in 2022 is on a mission to make the next generation in the villages of the Maoist-affected Balaghat district proficient in English.

Meet Mina Bisen, 47, the double postgraduate and ex-school principal sarpanch of Charegaon village in Balaghat district, eastern Madhya Pradesh. She is running a free English language coaching class at the Gram Panchayat building, determined to change the future of her village’s children.

Teaching isn’t new to Mina. The MA (English) and Master of Social Work degree holder has spent 16 years in the teaching profession. Holding a B.Ed. degree and a postgraduate diploma in computer applications, she started as a guest teacher in 2006, teaching in government schools in villages before moving to reputed private schools in Balaghat city. She taught English and Maths to higher classes and became the school principal of a premier English medium school in Balaghat city in 2015. After a fulfilling 16-year career as a teacher, Mina quit teaching in 2022.

Inspired by her social worker son, Swapnil, and her daughter, Sonali, who works in a rural post office, Mina decided to contest the gram panchayat elections in 2022 in her native Charegaon village. She defeated two school dropout ex-female sarpanches by 50 votes, making a winning debut in gram panchayat polls. A serious illness confined Mina to bed for about a year, but in early 2024, she resumed her duties as the proactive village sarpanch of Charegaon. It was then she rediscovered her passion for teaching. “Teaching has always been my primary passion, which is why, while contesting the gram panchayat polls, I had vowed to teach English to children in my village upon becoming the sarpanch,” she said.

Initially, there was only one student, a Class XII student named Mitali. However, soon the student count began to grow. Currently, 70 students attend the coaching.

The students span all age groups and classes, from nursery students to college-goers. “The youngest student, Shivaya, is special to me because his mother was my student in one of the schools where I taught in the past,” Mina shared.

“After winning the village sarpanch poll, my wife, who was otherwise addressed by villagers as sister-in-law, turned into Sarpanchji. But after she started teaching, she’s known more as Madamji and less as Sarpanchji,” says her husband, Purushottam Bisen, a grocery store owner and photographer.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com