Regional Director of IGNOU Dr. Patheneni Shivaswaroop is a man who is a teacher by default, in all aspects – mind body and soul. He is passionate about his endeavour to take the education to the underprivileged, poor and needy. He has attempted to create many firsts to his credit.
In an exclusive talk with Nagpur Today, Dr P. Shivaswaroop shared his journey of life and the accomplishment he achieve so far,
Family of many siblings
He had a family of 7 brothers and 3 sisters. He is the 9th in order. He claimed that two elder brothers who had started earning by the time he was in college and started supporting him and his other brothers and sisters in their education etc. Dr Shivaswaroop said that it was his mother who was the moral booster. It was she who had encouraged him to go on learning and to never give up.
Initial days of struggle
Dr. Shivaswaroop said that he had to get his schooling (from 1st to 10th) at three different places in Andhra Pradesh – Vijaywada (Krishna District), Amlapuram and Bheemanapalli (East Godavari District). He secured merit position in 10th class.
Narrating his school days’ struggle, he told that he had to walk for 3 kms daily on by the bank of the canal to reach school. When it would rain heavily he had to take an extra route of 7 kms. He completed his 12th class in a college in Amlapuram. Since Amlapuram is on the Godawari river forming a delta, the area is surrounded by coconut trees and have a pleasant weather. He opted for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in his and scored position in the merit list even in his twelfth class.
He informed that going to college too was a big challenge. He had to travel by the only bus that took him to the college. In order to reach the college where the first period began at 7:30 am, he had leave the house at 4:30 am reach the bus-stand at 5:30 am and get into the bus which often remained jam-packed. He said that there were many occasions where he had to travel by standing on the foot-board of the bus, partially hanging out of the vehicle. After reaching the area where the college was he had to walk two kilometers to his college campus. He went on to do his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) from the same college. He chose Chemistry Mains (equivalent of Honours as it is called in other places). He finished his B.Sc in 1982. This was followed by his completion of M.Sc in 1984.
Long time on research
He then went on to do his Doctoral studies. He did his Ph.D on a unique topic “Kinetics of Reaction”. He explained how 5 electrons get transferred from MN2 to MN7 (Manganese). He used Silver as a Catalyst. He studied the internal stages.
Dr Shivaswaroop said that there were many days when he had to sleep in the laboratory itself for the night since his experiments used to take long hours. The equipments he worked on were 50-year-old Spectrometers. He claimed that his Guide, the College authorities and the laboratory in-charge gave him complete freedom since he was sincere in his work and never deviated or diverted from his main aim to finish his research. He finished his Ph.D in 1990.
His hard work yielded rich dividends. Dr Shivaswaroop was awarded with the Best Thesis Award. His research featured in many International Science Journals. So much so that even today, his research is quoted while teaching or studying the “Kinetics of Reaction”.
After getting Junior Research Fellowship from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Junior Research Fellowships from University Grants Commission, he was then awarded with the Fellow of Royal Society of Chemists, London. The FRSC were rare then and are still rare. Dr Shivaswaroop is one among 100 Chemists in India to be awarded FRSC. He was also awarded with Post Doctoral Fellowship by the University of Hyderabad.
Stint with IGNOU
It was then that he got an offer from Indira Gandhi National Open University to work in Bhopal. He joined IGNOU as Assistant Regional Director in 1993. He was then transferred to Hyderabad. However, he was soon promoted as Regional Director and was transferred back to Bhopal. From Bhopal he was transferred back to Hyderabad as Regional Director. It was then that a centre was newly established in Nagpur. So he became the first Regional Director of IGNOU.
It is during his tenure as Regional Director of IGNOU that he re-launched the Gyanwani and took the programme of teaching Prisoners in Nagpur Central Jail. This was a first time when some Regional Director attempted something like that. It was his vision that youth in villages were imparted short-duration diploma courses like Malaria Vaccination Training, Testing Blood Sugar in villages and giving medicines, Training to young girls to become Auxiliary Midwife, Sericulture, Mushroom Cultivation and many other vocational courses which helped the youth to become self sufficient. He also started classes for various field of specializations to death-row convicts.
His message to the youth is to be sincere in whatever activities they undertake. He urged them to give 100% quality time in every endeavour that they undertake. He said that if the youth do this they can reach the pinnacle and no one can stop them from achieving anything in life. Positive support will come on the way in your journey to success. He quoted from the book Alchemist by Paulo Coelho where the main character is advised that “when you want something, entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”