My Independence Day at Macherla School

by Sahadev Komaragiri


Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, a school in Macherla in Guntur, is 180 kilometers from Hyderabad. 3 of us from Hyderbad left early in the morning to participate in the independence day celebrations. After a quick breakfast at the school correspondent’s residence, we arrived at the school where over 300 school children were waiting for us.

We were received at the gate by two very smartly dressed boys amidst a very energetic drumbeat by the school band boys. It was a very unique honour for me, a first in my life, when I was asked to hoist the national flag and address the gathering as a chief guest of the occasion. The celebrations included a very well rehearsed march past and beautifully sung patriotic songs.

When it was my turn to speak, in a mix of Telugu and English, I spoke about two issues. One keeping our country clean and two about saving our national resources especially water and electricity.

How do we do this? Here are some tips I suggested.

Where is India, which part of it do we intend to keep clean and beautiful?
Wherever we go whether it is our school, the local shopping center, the streets we walk on, the parks that we go to are all part of our great nation. We should ensure that we do not trash any of these places.

What should we do with a chocolate wrapper if we are not able to find a dustbin nearby?
Keep it in your pocket until you find a dustbin.

How much food do we serve ourselves in parties and at homes?
Do not take anything into your plate that you are not likely to eat. Take a pledge to not waste even a gram of food.

What are some simple steps to save water and electricity?Do not use full force of water while washing your hands.

  • Turn off the tap completely after its use.
  • If there is a leaky tap, do not rest until it is fixed.
  • Whenever you leave a room, make sure the lights and fans are switched off.
  • Form teams to walk around all the classrooms at the end of the school day to ensure that all the lights and fans are switched off.

During the course of this 5-8 minute talk, I administered a pledge to the students to keep this country clean and to work very hard to save water and electricity. I told them that there will be a test. I told them that before I leave at 2 PM I will walk around to find if there are any chocolate wrappers or any waste papers thrown around in the classrooms, corridors or around the campus. If I find even one such thing then the children failed to keep their pledge. They all promised me that they will keep the school clean.

All the children were given a biscuit packet and a couple of chocolates. The primary school children left and the mid school and high school students stayed on for additional activities.

As soon as the assembly got over, I noticed the teachers placing dustbins at strategic locations. All the students ensured that the ground was completely free from any waste of any kind. The classrooms were clean too. I noticed small girls and boys queuing up to dustbins to drop the wrappers. A small girl, may be 5 or 6, was going to the dustbin with what seemed to be nothing in her hand. She dropped something and apparently it fell off on the ground. She picked it up and dropped it again in the dustbin. It was a chocolate wrapper which is about 1mm x 1mm in size that she picked up from somewhere on the ground. I was very touched. All the students who queued up to use the dustbin got an air high five from all of us. All those who put it extra effort got a pat on the back and big high five.

Later during a training session for the teachers, I recommended to the teachers some additional tips. I suggested that a teacher should refuse to teach in a class that is not clean enough. Recommended that they should consider awarding points to each of the classes for their cleanliness. Each of the classes should take turns to keep the corridors and campus clean. We showed them a couple of videos that touched upon some of these topics.

Here is my favorite video on saving electricity.

A couple of years back I gave a similar key note speech at an Army Public School during the Independence Day. As I was about to leave I noticed that a girl popped in a chocolate and dropped the wrapper on the ground. She looked at me, stuck her tongue out and pulled it back quickly(for the uninitiated it is a “oops, I am sorry” gesture), and she quickly picked it up and ran to the nearest dust bin. I was very pleased and it was another high five moment!

Just a quick note about this school in Macherla. This is one my favourite schools that implements the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini programme. I am one of the coordinators of this massive nation wide programme. None of the students at this school pay any fees. All the finances are managed by a group of philanthropists. Instead of paying any fees, the parents take a pledge to offer two hours of free service every month. This community involvement is what keeps the school going on a day to day basis. The school has extraordinary talent in classical dance. Because of the free training provided by one of the volunteers, the school children chant Vedam with great ease. This school created a new hope in the community and in the education sector that is dominated by commercial corporate interest. In the larger interest of our nation and its education system, such schools deserve our wholehearted support.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

chandra shekar August 17, 2015 at 3:00 am

sairam sir, felt happy after reading about the school,


Sahadev Komaragiri August 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Thank you sir.


MRK Prasad August 19, 2015 at 8:33 am

Elated reading the blog. As described, those are special moments in one’s life – visit to a rural school – flag hoisting on an Independence day – escorting by students of the school as a chief guest – administering pledge – Values followed through – Realization in students and teachers etc

Appreciate your dedication in true sense! Wish many more occasions come forth to bring about a change in the minds of people!


Sahadev Komaragiri August 20, 2015 at 4:50 am

MRK garu. Thanks for your comments. I am sure this is the experience of all the folks who visit schools on behalf of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini programme. SSSVV is a blessing for many of us. I am not sure what we would be doing with our lives without SSSVV! 🙂


Manasvi Chervela August 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

great experience!


V L Subramanian August 30, 2015 at 2:23 am

Very inspiring Bro. Sahadev. You have provided the children with the right dose of the medicine. Practical tips on how to keep the environment clean. Great work.


Panduranga Rao B. September 29, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Another very inspiring post . It must have been thrilling to be a chief guest & to be escorted by the students with a band etc . But I am sure you must have been more thrilled by the sight of that little girl queuing up to drop that tiny bony Chacolate wrapper in the waste bin .
Keep moving & keep shining . Sai bless …


U Atreya Sarma January 30, 2016 at 12:11 am

You’ve highly practical and endearing tips up your sleeve. Heartening to note the philanthropic aspect of the Macherla school – Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar. If there can be some sort of networking among thinkers-activists of your wavelength, the country can work wonders for itself. Kudos.


Sahadev Komaragiri January 30, 2016 at 5:07 am

Thank you sir for your kind words of encouragement and support.


Rupa Swathi CH May 20, 2016 at 10:05 am

Very eager to work with you and with all those innocent children.


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