‘Poverty & Responsibility Guided Me’: Officer’s Incredible Viral Story Exemplifies the Power of Education

From 1980–85, all five children from the Baskaran family went to school in Lekshmipuram, Kanniyakumari, Tamil Nadu. They lived in a 250-square-foot house with a roof made of coconut leaves, withal with their parents. At school, the two boys had to wear uniforms only once a week — a white shirt and pants. So dire was their condition that the older boy, Nellayapan, wore his father’s veshti instead of the pants.

Today, Nellayapan B has wilt a teacher through nonflexible work and focus. He has achieved the position of Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister of Nagaland and is moreover the deputy director of school education in the state.

In higher life, Nellayapan had a rented schedule. He woke up at 4 am to help his parents at their snack/tea shop. After returning from college, he worked at the shop till 11 pm.

Originally from a small village in the southernmost part of India, he moved to the Northeastern state in search of a largest life for his family. And he succeeded in his goals. Today, he lives in a 2,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house. He moreover supported his three younger siblings’ education and marriage, making his parents’ lives comfortable. He credits all his achievements to his education.

“My father made sure that he gave all of us a good education. He went to unconfined lengths to educate us and managed to pay all our fees by borrowing money and mortgaging jewellery. Three of my siblings are postgraduates and one has completed her doctorate. All of us are in good positions thanks to my father’s insistence on getting us educated,” says Nellayapan to The Largest India.

From unobtrusive beginnings to deputy director

Nellayapan B, OSD to Nagaland Chief Minister
Nellayapan B, OSD to Nagaland Chief Minister

In 1990, Nellayapan had just completed an MSc in physics. His older sister was getting married, for which his parents, who ran a tea/snack stall, had to infringe money from others.

“I remember the time surpassing my sister’s wedding. People refused to lend money. My parents managed the required money with unconfined difficulty. Till the last minute, the moneylenders kept us hanging. I felt so insulted. That’s when I resolved to unzip something big in life, so my parents would never have to squatter such a situation again,” says the 55-year-old.

Nellayapan’s higher senior, who was working in Nagaland, apprised him well-nigh the opportunities there. And the then 23-year-old left for Nagaland with Rs 2,000 in his pocket and big dreams in his eyes.

“It took me four days to reach Nagaland. My parents couldn’t sire the train ticket. My mother had to pawn her last piece of jewellery — her nose ring — which got us Rs 2,000. I remember the wall manager’s expression when he saw the nose ring, knowing we had no other choice. I felt helpless,” he recalls subtracting that the value helped him with supplies and lodging for a few days.

In 1991, he started his career as a private school teacher in Nagaland with a salary of Rs 1,000 per month. He shares that this money wasn’t unbearable to imbricate his expenses as he sent some money when home too. “I had to pay Rs 700 per month for electricity and rent. How could I survive on just Rs 300?” he adds.

“I started taking tuition for school students to supplement my income. I used to tutor from 6 am to 10 am, then shepherd school until 4 pm, and return to tutor then until 6 pm. That’s how I managed for the first six years in private service,” explains the teacher.

This was moreover the time when Nagaland was facing insurgency issues. But the teacher didn’t let that hinder his progress.

In 1996, Nellayapan got a job as a postgraduate teacher in physics at the Government Higher Secondary School in Dimapur. In 1999, he got married and remembers how they then put an asbestos roof on their house. “The undersong of responsibility is often a blessing. I had to move up,” he shares.

Later, he went on to wilt the school principal in 2012 and unfurled working there till 2017. Then, in 2018, he was scheduled as the teammate director at the Directorate of School Education in Nagaland, and in 2022, he was promoted to the role of deputy director.

A trailblazer in education

Nellayapan B's family
All of Nellayapan’s siblings are well-educated due to their father’s efforts

When COVID hit the nation, Nagaland was one of the first states to embrace online education and was plane recognised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Education (OECD).

In April 2020, the Directorate of School Education rolled out a tele/online education programme through which education was offered through TV (Doordarshan, Kohima) and radio (All India Radio, Kohima). In May 2020, they moreover offered educational content through a YouTube channel. This programme was led by C Shanavas — principal director of school education — and supported by Nellayapan.

“Many hilly areas in the state squatter network issues. So we ironed out a plan that would reach every student, irrespective of network. We were moreover the first state to self-mastery online exams for students from Classes 5–12,” says Nellayapan, who was awarded the Governor’s quoting document for his efforts.

Working with IAS officers like Shanavas was moreover a big motivation for Nellayapan. “I have had the privilege of working with many IAS officers. They are an inspiration for me and I wish to work like them,” adds the physics teacher.

Recognising his work and efforts towards improving education in the state, Nellayapan was made the OSD to Chief Minister, Nagaland in April 2023.

The road to here has not been an easy one for him, he shares. He has had to stay yonder from his family for increasingly than three decades. He credits his wife for stuff a big reason for his success. “My wife is my rock. She supported me since the day we got married. She moreover helped my younger sister get married. Today, my wife is a successful executive in the private sector,” adds Nellayapan.

In 2006, his wife and children moved to Trivandrum considering of his wife’s job. He proudly mentions that his son is now a doctor, and his daughter is in Class 11.

Reminiscing the past, he adds, “I used to concentrate only on work considering I had a lot of responsibility when I came here. I had to ensure that my siblings studied well and my parents didn’t have to infringe money. Poverty and responsibility guided me on the right path,” he adds.

Nellayapan has a message to all young people: “There is no substitute for nonflexible work. You might get the reward late, but alimony at it. Hustle for a largest tomorrow with focus. You will be rewarded for your efforts. Just work nonflexible and don’t let your mind get diverted.”

Back in the day, many people helped his father with the loans. Plane though his parents don’t require his assistance now, this government officer is a strong parishioner in karma. Today, he supports six students in their education. “God has happy me; I have to pass on the help to those who need it,” he says.

Edited by Pranita Bhat