Swami Brahmadev, 66


Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan

Educator of the Differently-Abled

Godmen holding katha sessions and collecting donations afterwards is heard of. But utilising that money to run a residential school for differently-abled children is not. Swami Brahmadev, 66, has been doing just that for 30 years in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. “In 1981, he set up the LKC Jagdamba Andh Vidyalaya, which has educated and nurtured about 1,100 deaf-mute and 400 blind kids from as far as Sikkim and Kolkata,” says principal Ranjana Sethi. Most children learn to make a living in one form or another — one is now a principal at a blind school in Punjab. The Rajasthan government does provide some assistance, but a bulk of the monthly cost of about Rs. 16 lakh comes through donations. The idea of a blind school came to the swami, who grew up in Faridkot district in Punjab, after his sanyas at the age of 12. Adjacent to the school in Amritsar, where he was learning Sanskrit, was a school for the blind. In 1975, he visited Sri Ganganagar for katha, and settled there. In 1980, he bought one bigha land on the outskirts; it had a Jagdamba temple. This, he decided, would be the name of his school.



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