A first-generation literate from a nondescript village in Bagalkot district excels in studies and works as a college lecturer before chucking it all and pledging his property to build an educational institution for the poor children from neighbouring villages.
Meet 46-year-old Basavaraj Konnur, from Yallatti village in Mudhol taluk. Coming from an unlettered family, Konnur scaled great heights early in education. He did MSc in Botany, worked as a tutor in Rabakavi town before taking up a full-time teaching assignment in a government-aided college.
Three years ago, he decided to plough it all back to the village he grew up in. That’s when he thought he must set up an institution in Yallatti that benefits hundreds of deprived children. He had a dream, but didn’t have enough money to turn that into reality.
Without batting an eyelid, Konnur sold his seven-acre land and property to establish Konnur Science PU College in 2011 on a patch of land he retained for that purpose. Here, children study and stay for free. The education boom in the past 15 years easily bypassed Yallatti, a village neither too small nor big to have a college of its own. The village is located between Mudhol and Jamkhandi taluks.
He is the founder principal of the school, teaches eight hours a day, and eats and plays with the children. To get a first-hand feel of the hostel conditions, he spends nights there. At least 10 students are staying at the hostel at the moment, says social worker Mallikarjun Heggalagi.
Pushing the boundaries of philanthropy, he adopted an orphan boy whose parents died in wall collapse at Banahatti town, and is planning to adopt three more orphans from remote villages. In a boost to rural sanitation, he has helped 50 poor families build toilets.
None of my family members — parents or brothers — are lettered. Our family occupation is agriculture. I pledged our family land with the Karnataka Grameen Vikas Bank to raise Rs 2 crore for my project.