By V. Shourabh
Dr. Ruth Shantha Kumari, a Professor in Zoology and the Principal of St. Philomena’s College, Mysuru is of the viewpoint that womanhood is a chosen gift and feels proud to be a woman. Teaching has been her passion and she has been guiding students and paving their lives and careers in the right direction. According to her, Mar.8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day only due to logistic reasons. Otherwise every day is Women’s Day as women light up the lives of all people around them.
Star of Mysore (SOM): Being a Professor, principal and having a family life, how do you manage everything effectively?
Dr. Ruth: A woman is a very special creation of nature and I strongly believe in this and her brain is wired for multi-tasking. She simultaneously rocks the cradle, takes charge of the kitchen and goes to office. I do not feel any sort of stress in handling these responsibilities, but it requires planning and scheduling.
SOM: Your passion for teaching and making it a career. Could you narrate the journey?
Dr. Ruth: Basically from childhood, I wanted to be a teacher. My second preference was to be a doctor. Teaching is a noble profession as you shape the personality of children to become better human beings. I always believe that teaching does not mean dissemination of information. For me it means to be a friend, to give comfort to students, to make them feel more confident in their lives and to make them realise their potential. It gives me immense pleasure. When I see that shine of happiness in the eyes of my students, I love to teach by being an example.
SOM: Was the path tough during your journey? Any obstacles?
Dr. Ruth: There is no one without obstacles in this world. We are humans and problems are bound to be present. However, I’m extremely thankful to God who gave me good parents. They carved a number of qualities in me and made me what I am today. They taught me the value of being good to others, believing in hard work without expecting any fruit and respecting others inspite of having differences. My mother taught me to smile in difficult situations and seek help from God. No doubt, it has been a challenge throughout to reach the position where I’m today. But my friends, well wishers, colleagues and the management have made my life more pleasant.
SOM: There is a stereotype that this society is male dominated. What should be the role of women in breaking this stereotype?
Dr. Ruth: I personally don’t subscribe to this idea though often it is prevalent in this society that women are not efficient as men. Frankly speaking, women in today’s world have ventured into every possible profession and have proved their proficiency. I feel that ‘WEMEN’ (Women) means ‘We and Men’, which conveys to me that we human beings can be the best, when men and women understand, respect, accommodate and complement each other. The world becomes beautiful when this equation works. Women can break this stereotyped idea not by confrontation but by convincing the other gender through their efficient functioning and effective communication. Often we indirectly nurture this stereotyped idea by not having confidence in ourselves.