Patna: The principal took up a toilet brush and his faculty members wielded brooms and mops as a Jesuit college opted to observe the May Day in a different way.
“Usually May 1st is a holiday in the name of laborers. Nobody bothers about them, except that everyone gets a holiday. This is of no use,” said Jesuit Father Tomy Nishaant, principal of St. Xavier’s College (and St. Xavier’s College of Management and Technology), Patna, who decided open the institution on International Labor Day and let its teachers do the menial tasks for a change.
Father Nishaant and the vice-principal when around the college cleaning toilets and restrooms, while other members of the teaching faculty mopped, dusted, and swept out the campus. Some male teachers prepared the morning tea and snacks.
The college let the ‘non-teaching’ staff – office assistants, cleaning personnel and gardeners – relax, besides treating them to a special high tea.
The students observed their teachers putting into practice the principle that education is all about learning for life.
Fr Nishaant said the teachers and management, imitating Mahatma Gandhi, sought to address the very ideology of the Indian caste system, by which only a group of people belonging to a particular caste are meant to do such ‘polluting’ works as cleaning up garbage, excreta, and so on.
Most sweepers, cleaners, and drainage maintenance staff of the municipal corporation come from the former low caste groups. Even the morgue attendants and workers who handle the corpses are from the Dalit castes.