Beyond Money
A Passion for Education and Igniting Minds
In the summer of 1967, Shiva Balak Misra, a graduate student at Newfoundland’s Memorial University discovered some rare fossils at a place called Mistaken Point near Cape Rock. He prepared a geological map of the region to classify the fossil assemblage which formed a part of his Masters’ thesis. The discovery was reported in Nature in 1968 and in another paper that Mr Misra published in 1969. The 565-million-years-old fossil, Fractofusus misrai, was named after him, in 2007. 
This article is not about the rare and spectacular fossil, but about the amazing human being behind it. Dr Misra, a well-known scientist and geologist, started life in a poor family at a village near Lucknow. He walked 12km to reach the only school in the area, determined to succeed. It was important for him to do well in school to get a scholarship and not have to pay fees. He was a topper throughout and completed his Masters’ degree staying at an ashram and teaching other children to earn money. A scholarship to study at the Memorial University in Canada was a turning point. It was there, as a geologist, that he made his famous fossil discovery and earned well-deserved recognition in his field. 
But, three years later, when India was reeling from a severe drought in 1966-67, he chose to return home. Having seen great hardship as a child, it was always his dream to start a school in his village near Kunaura. In 1971, soon after his marriage to Nirmala, the couple started Bharatiya Gramin Vidyalaya (BGV) with his savings. It was an area untouched for decades by education, development and prosperity and had no electricity or proper roads. 
Prof Misra’s dream was to ensure that more professionals and scientists emerge from this school. When his savings, which were fully invested in the school, ran out, he went back to teaching at Lucknow while Nirmala Misra (who had never lived in a village before marriage) continued to run the school. But help did come from various quarters and, over the years, BGV has transformed thousands of lives not only through education but also through socio-economic welfare programmes like training courses for unemployed youth, courses for young widows, entrepreneurship programme for women, forestation drives, tailoring courses, etc. 
There is a lot that still needs to be done and resources are needed, to make it happen. Mr Mishra’s son, Shailesh, a software engineer, tells us, “While the organisation has brought about enormous change to the lives of people in the area, the task is half done. Even today, many children have to walk over 5km to school. They either drop out or show poor attendance. Physically challenged children cannot study.” 
He goes on to say, “We see BGV becoming a powerhouse of energy, creating more people who can be successful in what they do in the village or in cities. When we brought in computers to the school two years back, children adapted and, now, we have had two batches of children who have graduated, everyone getting distinction in Class XII and confidently writing computer programs. Some people doubted that they will be able to do it and they were proven wrong. Today, after Class XII, girls have a challenge since they don’t have a college nearby and parents are not comfortable sending them over 12km away. We also want to focus on education for the physically challenged children who cannot come to school. We want to provide free transport facility to such children. The school would like to run voluntary courses which can enable children to become self-sufficient. The school would like to run free training for focused professions including civil services and medicine. The school would also like to develop the villages nearby to become Internet-enabled, and to adopt the latest farming and horticulture techniques. We would also like to work on forming farmers’ groups.” Prof Misra, who is 78, and his wife continue to serve the school even today.
Readers can contribute to BGV. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act 1960 and is a not-for-profit organisation; donations are eligible for tax exemptions under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. 
Bharatiya Gramin Vidyalaya
Village Kunaura, Post Mahona, 
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Mobile: 9810292288




Rajendra Ganatra

2 weeks ago

Thanks for the superb article. I am going to Lucknow next month and would visit BGV to learn and adopt.


Shailesh Misra

In Reply to Rajendra Ganatra 2 weeks ago

Dear Rajendra, I will be happy to connect you with the organization when you visit.

Yograj Patel

In Reply to Shailesh Misra 1 week ago

Dear Shailesh, I am co-founder Gyankriti School, Indore. We have done lot of research work in teaching pre-school children and lot of it has been uploaded in a free and open source online course. You can refer to 100s of activities for kindergarten students through this link
- Click on 'Education Reserach & Training 2016-17' course link
- On the login page click on 'login as a guest' and enter the guest password
If you need any assistance you can reach me on [email protected]

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Close to a deal for phasing out super greenhouse gases: UNEP
The world is close to striking a deal to phase out super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air-conditioning, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Erik Solheim said on Friday.
"I am confident that we are very close to make amendments to the Montreal Protocol for a timely phase out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and replacing them with climate-friendly alternatives," Solheim told reporters in the Rwandan capital where negotiations are on since October 10 to reach a global agreement on an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs globally.
He admitted that there was difference of opinion among the signatories to the Montreal Protocol but it had been sorted out through negotiations.
Regarding India, he said it has shown flexibility for the phase out of HFCs.
"The US, India and the European Union, please be flexible," urged Solheim, while talking to IANS. He also said that both India and Pakistan had shown willingness to move on the matter. 
"This is the fastest action we can have to reduce biggest impact on climate change in a very short time," he said.
"I am confident that there is sufficient leadership in this conference," said Solheim, adding "it's like a marathon, for a long time it seemed very difficult. Last few metres remain".
"Though difference of opinion exists, there is no difference in the end goal. We all agree the need to phase out HFCs. That signal is sent to the markets."
Solheim said all discussions on deadlines is well taken. "We need to compromise, flexible, but we maybe see change happening much more early."
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday reached Kigali to attend the meeting's last day on October 14.
In a major development to phase down HFCs, Indian Minister for Environment Anil Dave on Thursday announced measures to control the emissions of trifluoromethane (HFC-23), a super greenhouse gas.
Declaring that India has taken the lead on climate issues, Dave told IANS: "We are going ahead for releasing the order for incinerating the HFC-23, by-product of HCFC-22 gas."
Released as a by-product during the manufacturing of a commonly used refrigerant gas, chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22), HFC-23's global warming potential is 14,800 times more than that of CO2, making it an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.



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