Baldev Prasad Kukreti ‘Master Ji’ : User of practical means for teaching
Today, the new generation and the generation of post independence will not understand the significance of private tutor before independence. Before independence, in Garhwal the primary schools were in scare and people were aware of consequences of education. In Dhangu region of Gangasalan of Pauri, the private tutors were a medium of providing basic education to the children in those areas where schools were not there. The people of Malla Dhangu and Bichhla Dhangu says that Baldev Prasad Kukreti of Jaspur was one of the couple of tutors who started teaching privately to the children that those children would sit in the examination of forth standard (on that 4th standard was equal to today’s fifth standard).
Baldev Prasad was the first son of Raghuvar Dutt Kukreti and Kunti Devi Kukreti of Jaspur and was born in 1903. Raghuvar Dutt Kukreti was a farmer but was also called a kind revolutionist of his time for a specific reason. He was the first person of Jaspur the original village of Kukreti who initiated to boycott the Punditai of Bahugunas of Jaspur for their discriminating attitude between the Kukreti of jaspur and Gweel villages.
British opened primary school at Tankan (Malaa Dhangu) around early years of twentieth century . Therefore, there was awareness for sending children to schools for education in Malla Dhangu. The villagers of other areas used to send their children for primary education to their relatives in the villages nearby of Tankan as Jaspur, Gweel, Bareth, Saud, Chhatinda .
Baldev Prasad was a very promising and bright student of Tankan school and passed forth standard with distinction. He completed his primary education at the age of eleven and on that time he was the fist student of his area who completed primary education at such an early age. On that time, there was no middle school nearby Jaspur and Pauri , Lainsdown or Dugadda (all far away) were the centers for higher education . Poor Raghubar Dutt was not having any resource for higher education for his brilliant son. Familiy members I.e his father and his Tau Ji Amba Dutt Kukreti sent Baldev Prasad to Dehradun for earning and getting higher education through private means . There he got chance to teach children of officers of forest department. One of the forest officers offered him the service in forest department but Baldev Prasad did choose the job of teaching. By his earning , he could help his family in Jaspur. When he was married , he did not return to Dehradun and started private tuitions in Kandi village of Bichhala Dhangu where there was not any facilities for education. In the mean time, his wife and only son expired due to non availability of medical facilities in the area. He never remarried and spent his life as Brahmchari.
The techniques of teaching of Baldev Prasad was so superb that within no time he became famous tutor and Kandi became a private primary school where around thirty forty children from villages as Amola, Khand, Hatnud, Kuthar started taking basic education. The villagers used to send grains, agro-forest products to Jaspur in return of teaching of Baldev Prasad . Money was not there with villagers to provide his tuition fee. The students used to sit in the exams second, third or forth standard in Tankan school or other schools. The government teachers were knowing the ability of Baldev Prasad and teachers p of Tankan used to take advice of Baldev Prasad alias ‘ Master Ji’.
Baldev Prasad taught in Kandi till 1951, when his younger brother’s first son was born (this author) . Around that time, Indian government established two three primary schools in Bchhala Dhangu too.
After returning to his village Baldev Prasad started to teach children in Jaspur only. The parents would prefer to send their children to Baldev Prasad than sending Tankan because his way of teaching was unique and practical that children used to pick up subject easily. Depending upon the their capability, the students used to sit in the exams of second standard in Talkan school. There were exceptions for a couple of students who directly sat in the exams of third standard too. Ram Charan Kukreti and this author sat in the exam of third standard and both got distinctions too. For a couple of years, he taught in Kathud Bada of Malla Dhangu too.
His way of teaching was practical. For example , he used to use leave for teaching division by first cutting leave into two parts, then three, then four and like that he used to teach division by cutting leave. For counting, multiplication, addition or subtraction , he used pebbles. For essay writing, Baldev used to take children near to caw, bull, field and used to ask them describe the things as they are.
His pupil never forgot his contribution for providing education when schools were not their areas. When the pupils used to get chance in coming Jaspur they used to pay visit to him. Many pupils used to send gifts when they used to come Garhwal from Desh.
The people of Bichhala Dhangu and Malla Dhangu will never forget the services of Baldev Prasad Kukreti ‘Master Ji’ for teaching on that time when education facilities was in scare. If this author is became a writer, it is because of the inspiration and teaching of late Baldev Prasad Kukreti’ Maser Ji’. There are many Dhangwals in Mumbai ,who were his students and meet me. they definitely talk about the contribution of Baldev Prasad Kukreti and his brilliant way of teaching.
Baldev Prasad was an Aryasamji and he expired in 1970