Learning is the best earning

By Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar

Published: Thu 8 Jul 2021, 12:00 AM

When I started my career in Dubai, I was merely a 12th standard graduate. I had no intention of studying further as I was averse to learning. Previously, in the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) exam I had failed in Mathematics five times and that fear had never abated. My father didn’t like my phobia and always pushed me to pursue further education.

In our shop, a senior citizen named Hanumantha Anna worked as my father’s labourer. He was from a southern state of India. I would call him only Anna (someone as respectable as a father). He would dote on me. I remember once when I had a high fever and was bed-ridden for a couple of days, Anna had nursed me and even provided me with a regular sponge-bath. He was prompt in carrying any responsibility assigned to him. But despite being multitalented, Anna was illiterate and couldn’t even write his signature.

When Anna retired from service, my father rewarded him for his honesty and hard work with a handsome fortune. Anna had always wished to spend his post-retirement life with his family back at his native place — so he left for India. After some days he wrote to my father informing me that he had built a two-storey house in his town and everything was splendid.

A year later, when I went to Mumbai, I coincidentally met Anna’s son. As I enquired about Anna, he disclosed dreadful news — his father had died some months before and the family was now living a miserable life. The reason behind it was even more shocking. Anna had rented out his newly built house but the tenant had robbed him, taking undue advantage of Anna’s illiteracy and naivety. Instead of a rent agreement he had made a fake sales agreement, later claimed ownership and then forcibly taken possession of the house. Anna couldn’t bear the shock of this betrayal. Anna’s family was helplessly blaming their destiny. Everyone in that family was uneducated hence couldn’t understand the legal terms. They didn’t even have the money to pay the fee of a lawyer.

When I heard the story, it touched my heart. I was determined to help the family. I travelled to that town, hired a good lawyer and paid his fee in advance. The lawyer proved in the court that the agreement was a fake document. He even sought the help of the police department. Finally, the tenant had to vacate the house and return the possession to Anna’s family. Tears filled my eyes when the family members touched my feet in respect to thank me. I made them all stand in front of Anna’s photo and pledge that in the future none of them would remain illiterate. After returning to Dubai I also immediately rejoined college, for I had realised — education is wealth.

Friends, the great philosopher Aristotle aptly said, “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living differ from the dead.”

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