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Shivadas Kurup transcended disability, joyously worked in school post-retirement

Praveshnolsavam in a Kerala school
By Our Representative   
KD Shivadas Kurup had busied himself with arrangements for the praveshnolsavam, the festival to welcome tiny tots to school for the first time and also open the doors of the school again to old students who return for the new academic year. On June 1, when schools re-opened after the vacation in Kerala, though, 59-year-old Kurup, who was speech and hearing impaired, was no longer alive to participate in the festivity.
Kurup had retired three years ago from his job as a peon at the Government High School in Pollethai of Alappuzha district. (In Kerala, state government employees retire at 56.) He was popular with teachers and students, communicating with them in sign language. His love for the school was such that even after his retirement he continued to work in the school, without wages. He was involved in decorating the school and making all arrangements for the school’s praveshnolsavam even this year.
As part of the state's attempts to make schools child-friendly learning spaces, children are given a warm welcome when they return to school in the new academic year. Tiny tots coming to school for the first time are given gifts. Schools are decorated with flowers, balloons and buntings. Parents and important local leaders like panchayat members and MLAs attend the event.
The day before he died, Kurup attended the funeral of former colleague and neighbour A. S. Jayaram. He returned to the school in the afternoon to participate in the praveshnolsavan arrangements when he experienced chest pain, following which he passed away.
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Source: Smita Ramanathan, who works as a consultant in the NGO sector

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