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ज्ञात हो कि विश्व दीपक ने नेशनल हेराल्ड में इस पूरे घटनाक्रम को प्रमुखता से प्रकाशित किया तो उनके आर्टकिल के ऑनलाइन होने के मात्र 2.5 घंटे के भीतर ही संस्थान को न जाने किस ‘भयंकर प्रेशर’ में आकर इसे हटाना पड़ गया!
Former ET scribe battles for life after cardiac arrest following harassment at Tech Mahindra Foundation
Former ET journalist and noted educationist Kaushalendra Prapanna was allegedly humiliated and forced to resign after penning a newspaper article criticising functioning of MCD schools in Delhi
Published: 13 Sep 2019, 4:10 PM
Former Economic Times journalist Kaushalendra Prapanna, who quit journalism to become an educationist, is battling for life in hospital after he was allegedly humiliated and forced to resign by his superiors at Tech Mahindra Foundation, CSR arm of Tech Mahindra, for writing an editorial in Hindi daily Jansatta criticising functioning of MCD schools in Delhi.
Prapanna’s family alleged that he suffered a massive cardiac arrest on September 5 after his bosses “humiliated, harassed and forced him to resign”, after which he was rushed to Saroj Hospital in Rohini, Delhi.
“His condition is worsening day by day. He is inching towards death with each passing minute,” said his family.
A part time poet, 45-year-old Prapanna has penned several books on India’s education system and was part of the team that launched Economic Times in Hindi in 2008. He worked with the newspaper till 2009.
On August 25, Prapanna wrote a piece in Hindi daily Jansatta in which he criticised Delhi’s education system in general and made critical comments about schools run by MCD.
The article, titled Na padha pane ki kasak (‘The pang of not being able to teach’) talks about the plight of teachers in government-run schools in Delhi.
“There are thousands of teachers who consider teaching as their primary responsibility. If you go and visit their classrooms, you will find that their students are performing well also. Sadly, these teachers are struggling to explore their creativity,” he wrote.
After the publication of the article, according to his family, Prapanna’s immediate boss Barkha Samant called him up in the evening and humiliated him over the phone, his elder brother Raghvendra Prapanna, who teaches at Delhi University, told National Herald.
“The next day, on August 26, Samant again called Prapanna and took Sajid Ali – her boss — too on the line. Then they both grilled and humiliated him for hours over the phone for writing the piece,” said Raghavendra.
“Ali and Samant repeatedly named two East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) officials — Dolly and Ballan — during the conversation, saying these two officials were particularly angry with the article,” claimed Prapanna’s wife.
It is pertinent to mention that the EDMC had signed a three-year contract with Mahindra Tech Foundation under ‘Train the teachers programme’. Prapanna’s job was to train the teachers of MCD-run schools. It is being said that Mahindra Tech Foundation officials forced Prapanna to resign after Dolly and Ballan complained against him.
“Bosses feared that EDMC will cancel the contract,” said an employee of the Tech Mahindra Foundation on condition of anonymity.
Prapanna’s family claimed that Chetan Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Tech Mahindra Foundation, was present in the office on the day the incident happened, but he apparently did nothing to stop them.
On the evening of August 26, Prapanna put in his papers at Tech Mahindra Foundation’s Bhikaji Cama office.
“For 10 days, he was under immense pressure. Disillusioned and dejected, he was unable to sleep for nights. Then he slipped into depression,” said Raghvendra.
“On September 5, he complained of acute anxiety and breathlessness and fell unconscious after a few minutes. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was put on life support system. But his condition worsened as he developed serious infection and pneumonia,” Raghvendra added.
Raghvendra shared Prapanna’s piece with National Herald, adding, “He was well known in the field of education and was regarded as an emerging educationist. However, he was critical of the apathy shown by the governments towards education. It has nothing to do with the BJP or AAP or Congress but when he criticised BJP-run MCD schools for lacking basic facilities, complaints were made against him.”
A journalist who worked with Prapanna in ET Hindi told National Herald that the former journalist had earned a formidable reputation in the field of education due to his commitment, hard, work and honesty.
“He was revered by all. He used to get calls even from foreign countries inviting him to deliver lectures on education,” he asserted.
National Herald tried to reach out to Barkha, Sajid and Kapoor for their comments but their mobile numbers remained out of reach. Text messages sent to them too did not elicit any response.
As per Prapanna’s family, Kapoor visited the hospital on Wednesday and offered financial help but the family turned down the offer, saying, “We don’t want fake sympathy”.
Ironically, no one else from Mahindra Tech Foundation, which aspires to see ‘A society that provides equal opportunities to people even with different abilities’ tried to connect with the family or offer help.
After some friends of Prapanna raised the issue on Facebook, it simply sent out a tweet wishing him speedy recovery.
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