Learning is Solace - Pushpa Solanke

She glorifies a woman; a lady who faced strong-mindedly the evens and odds of daily life uncertainties. Carrying resilience, wit, love and character in her pockets all along her life years, she has cherished and beautified innumerable souls. Obstacles were like an everyday thing, yet she moved away every stone from her path with just one powerful tool and that was her passion for learning.
Interning IJ Mugdha Dumbre
Published on: 29th March 2016
“When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.

This quote holds just right for Pushpa Solanke. A retired teacher and a mother of four has done full justice to every role that she ever played in her life. Today she is praised as a teacher, a lovable mother, a dutiful wife, a writer and a selfless citizen. Belonging to an era where women were given very less or no freedom and education for a girl child was always looked down upon; she stood out for her dreams and her drive to attain knowledge. Even today, at the age of 62, she is enthusiastically pursuing her pHd in Literature.
Pushpa Solanke
“During the very early years, our father was our teacher. And as our financial condition wasn’t stable, we were then sent to another city, to be taken care of by my uncle and aunt. My entire school and college life was spent there. I hardly had any money for books which is why I used to get books from library and write down all the notes, staying awake all night, as the books were supposed to be returned back. So clearly, whenever I had money, I bought books. They seemed so valuable. I never complained about anything else; there was no choice at all. The fact that my uncle and aunt were letting me study was a lot for me and I was very happy with it.”

Times weren’t easy though. She was made to abandon her education and be at home to take care of her siblings, to which she refused. She literally went on to starve herself to convince them that she needs to study at any cost. Finally giving in to her stubbornness, her family agreed on terms that she gets her education sitting at home. She took care of her family, alongside working rigorously for her exams. At times she even spent hours studying under the street lights after finishing her work. Seeing her energy and love for knowledge, she was later sent to college. But as a girl again, she was subjected to many restrictions and limitations. She agreed to everything as far as she was allowed to follow her passion.

When it was time for her matrimony, she had made a clear and solid decision of getting married only if she was allowed to continue with her education. And that did happen. After marriage, she and her husband shifted to a small town away from Pune city. Her will to take up a job was crushed when she was inclined to take care of her family instead. She could do nothing about it, but only hope. She was eager to do something for others. Gathering small kids staying nearby she used to teach them for free. Her love for kids was admired by all, and she was then allowed to teach in a school.

She then made her mind to complete her degree of Bachelor of Education from another city. There too, she faced many rejections. She managed her family life, raising the kids, their schooling and her education along with it. Many a times, she taught in schools, free of cost and helped many underprivileged students in a very positive way.

Pushpa Solanke
With being a teacher, she was also an angel for many. Along with her husband, she served many people. Helping them solve their problems, serving at the hospital and working for the diseased; they did it all with their own money. She even sold her land and ornaments for the education of her kids, and also for other kids. In spite of being in such a crisis, she never stooped. Rather she started a small business and also a library of her own. Quick wit was always an essence of hers. Pushpa started two kindergartens of her own and brought in innovative teaching methods which instigated a very different and an inspiring environment for the students.

“I was doing my Masters in Arts parallelly with my kids graduating.  I never wanted them to know, what problems we were facing. We worked day and night, to make sure that their education would not be affected. Relatives and neighbours used to laugh at me, saying I am a fool to give up so much for others. But I had complete faith in myself. The learnings that I had attained from my parents and my education gave me tremendous confidence and the ability to work more. It feels great to be of some use to someone. I believe you should always work towards your aim, regardless of what comes your way. Help the needy and forgive all those who hurt you. After all, it’s you yourself all the way ahead. Work hard and harder, it will always pay you well.”

Pushpa  has recently written a book called “Ashi Ghadwa Pratibhavan Mula”; a beautiful book on how to create young rockstars, who will serve the world and become a reason to empower many other beautiful minds. She is also working on this project and plans to take it across many cities. “Children that are raised on the foundations of high aim, strong willpower and hard work will always rule the world”, is what she believes in. A remarkable teacher; but even more of a remarkable student, she is now completing her pHd in Marathi Literature and is very excited to present her work.

“Learning is Solace”, she says. Her exemplary work definitely serves as an example for everyone of the current generation. Caught up in the trance of her own aspirations, she barely knew how many lives she has transformed throughout her journey. Fighting all odds and facing the bitterness, she achieved all her dreams and is still dreaming at an amazing number of 62.
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