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From shepherd to scholar

From shepherd to scholar
Highlights

This is an aweinspiring journey of a gritty tribal who spent better part of his formative years as a shepherd Today, he is on the verge of completing...

Palakurthy (Warangal-Rural): This is an awe-inspiring journey of a gritty tribal who spent better part of his formative years as a shepherd. Today, he is on the verge of completing Post-Doctoral Fellowship that too from the University of Hyderabad (UoH), one of the highly-reputed institutions in the country.

As a child, what he used to get was kunchedu vadlu (16 kg of paddy) a month for shepherding the cattle of his landlord. Such was the fate of Banoth Bondyalu, who hails from Bothala Tanda under Raiparthy mandal of Warangal Rural district.

Usually, parents in this part of the region name their children with odd names such as Bondyalu hoping them to survive. Bondyalu’s parents Sita and Bheelu are no exception. Somehow, all the 10 children who were all born (before Bondyalu) to Sita and Bheelu didn’t survive.

Due to difficult financial position of his family, Bondyalu became a dropout very early after Class III. It became necessary for his tender shoulders to share some of the burden of his family.

Bondyalu was sent to look after the cattle of a landlord to whom his father owes money. A stick in hand instead of textbooks, his duty was to graze 30-odd cattle; in lieu he got a kunchedu vadlu a month barely sufficient to kill the hunger of a person.

Vexed with his fate, he ran away from his home and started working with a poultry unit at mandal headquarters Raiparthy. But soon he was taken back to his village by his father. Again, he became a shepherd.

The urge within him to pursue academics drew him towards a night school at Mylaram, a nearby village. One day, his employer, who found one of his oxen missing from the herd, beat him black and blue when he was in the night school.

Infuriated by this, he refused to be a shepherd anymore. Finally, his penchant for studies prevailed. After he got through SSC in first class from state-run Tribal Gurukul School he never looked back. After completion of degree in Hanamkonda, he did his postgraduation and M Phil in UoH.

Bondyalu completed his Ph D in 2012. His research work was on communal analysis reflected in Hindi novels that got published in the last decade of the 20th Century.

His ongoing Post-Doctoral Fellowship research is on Tribal Development, Displacement and Resistance reflected in Hindi novels in the first decade of the new millennium.

Speaking to The Hans India, 40-year-old Bondyalu said: “Teaching is my passion. Once I complete my postdoctoral degree, my quest begins for a job. I will also focus on spreading awareness among the less-privileged about the importance of studies.

I know how difficult it is for the distressed sections of society to come through the rigors of the poverty.” It may be noted here that Bondyalu, who has 20-odd research papers to his credit and two books, had been to Columbia University in 2015 as part of study tour organised by Dr Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI.

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