Remembering Sheila Irani on her birth centenary
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Remembering Sheila Irani on her birth centenary

June 13, 2022

A social worker par excellence

Sir,

This refers to the write-up titled “Birth Centenary of Sheila Irani tomorrow” in Star of Mysore dated  June 11, 2022. 

Because of my long association with Sheila Irani with many NGO activities — Chamundi Children’s Home, Ideal Jawa Rotary School, Mysore Lok Swaraj Andolan (MLSA), People’s Education Trust, MP Local Area Development Fund, MATF Education Committee, Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP), etc.— I had several occasions to work with her.

She was a social worker par excellence as I learnt from her daring and concerned performance. I would have expected her birth centenary to be celebrated on a grand scale by several organisations in the city. In this connection, I have to accept mea culpa for not taking an initiative myself.

Let me give just four examples to show her concern for society and outstanding qualities as a social worker:

Once we had been to visit an elementary school located in a Railway Colony of Yadavagiri. When Sheila lrani saw the care- taker of that school illegally occupying two rooms and forcing children to sit on the veranda (Pratham had balawadis there), she scolded him and asked him to vacate his premises. He almost came to manhandle the MP. She was not at all perturbed and was ready to face him. Finally, we managed to leave the place unharmed.

When she learnt about my efforts to expose corruption in residential LPG distribution, she narrated a shocking anecdote. Her MP colleagues in Delhi queried her about how she allocates her MP quota of LPG connections (it was a time when getting LPG connection was not easy), she stated that she gives preference based on their needs. They expressed their shock when they learnt that she never got money which was the usual practice with many MPs.

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She took active part in improving education specially with Government Schools. When Mysore Lok Swaraj Andolan was formed to promote professional, concerned and competent candidates to contest in election, she immediately joined as a member and took active part. She even campaigned for MLSA candidates.

While allocating MP Local Area Development Funds, she was meticulous in analysing the requests using experts and then to allocate funds.

Though she was a nominated MP and also MLA, she never came across as a politician. Though she was from a rich family and certainly a celebrity, she never came across as a socialite either in her dress or behaviour. One could learn how one should act with humility from her. In short, she would serve as a model not just to women but also for men.

Why are we Mysureans indifferent to celebrate the birth centenary of a model social worker in a befitting manner? This reflects poorly on our city.

– Bhamy V. Shenoy, Mysuru, 12.6.2022

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