Karnataka: Since 1994, this small farmer has turned more than 600 villagers in Davanagere literate | Hubballi News

DAVANAGERE: He may own a small farm, but the scope of his vision and the magnitude of his goal are anything but. M Shivakumar, 54, an active farmer in Hole Sirigere village in Harihar taluk, Davanagere district, has an interesting vocation, one that he pursues almost as seriously as he does agriculture – educating the members of his brethren.
Since 1994, Shivakumar has turned 670 farmers in his village and neighbouring rural boroughs literate, and has earned for himself the moniker ‘Akshara Vaani (the voice of letters)’ among the locals. These farmers, who have received the gift of education from Shivakumar, are today keeping themselves abreast of all the pressing issues afflicting the world, not to mention the advancements in the field of agriculture, by reading newspapers and magazines.
In 2008, the state government declared Davanagere a ‘literate’ district, and terminated the ‘Akshara Vaani’ initiative. However, Shivakumar, with his undying passion for teaching, decided to continue his mission, to help fellow farmers get the benefit of education. “More than a dozen volunteers are assisting me in educating illiterate villagers, and we have set up 12 centres within a 10-kilometre radius of Hole Sirigere. We operate these centres on all days barring Monday, between 8am and 12pm,” said Shivakumar.
The revenue he gets from his farm, Shivakumar invests in his venture to educate the rural people. “Many people whom I have taught can now read and write in Kannada. I did not want to just get farmers to sign their names where they would have used their thumb instead. This task took up to half-a-year to an entire year,” he added.
Shivakumar has also donated books, slippers and bags to anganwadi centres, and primary schools to ensure that the children have all the facilities to continue their education. Eager to do his bit for the environment, Shivakumar, along with volunteers, planted 5,000 saplings at the graveyard of the village.

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