How does one feel when they are Quarantined for 21 days?
Everyone must have been irritated and bored when the COVID-19 pandemic hit; not being able to meet their friends, go out for a walk and enjoy the morning breeze. Now, there is a person who has been in quarantine for the last 42 years in Kolkata. This man is Rajeev Poddar, founder of a non-profit organisation named “Knowledge Capsules". An accounts and economics teacher, who teaches many students all over India through an online portal, he believes that will power and courage to face hardships is the way to go about life and qualities that everyone should possess.
Being paralysed in the lower half of his body since 9 years of age, his childhood was not all that jolly. It was also a time where there was no internet or mobile phones and with his condition, he found refuge in reading as his social circle was limited. So, as he said and I quote,“The Telegraph newspaper was my first friend which I used to read from the first paragraph of first page till last paragraph of last page.” His circle then extended to magazines, novels all which converted him into an avid reader and someone who possessed great knowledge. At a time when people in 20s complete their education, he started his education when he was told to teach the kids in his neighbourhood who were in 5th grade for their upcoming maths test. As someone who had not received formal education after 2nd grade how was he supposed to teach students of 5th grade? He read and earned from the textbook all day in order to be prepared as well as help prepare the students in the evening when they came back from school. Little did he know that this was just the beginning of his teaching journey. Since then he has no only taught senior secondary students accounts and economics but also helped CA aspirants in their preparations.
Rajeev confines himself to a room with 5 television sets where he gathers news across the world and shares it with students to give them insights beyond the pages of their textbooks and four classroom walls. He also started an NGO called “Knowledge Capsules” which shares information from diverse fields to underprivileged and rural government schools pan-India. Along with this, he also devotes time to teach on UNACADEMY, another online learning platform.
The above mentioned contributions and achievements have brought him great laurels such as being nominated for the prestigious Padmashri award twice and having live discussions with Dr. Raghuram Rajan, former RBI governor, on important topics such as “global economic crisis after Covid-19”. He preaches and is the epitome of not letting ones disabilities determine ones life and to strive to face any kind of challenge life throws their way.
Palagiri Mohammad Reehan