At first, Kotturpuram head constable J Venkateshwara Rao was surprised at the attention he was getting over the last few days. The policeman had donated two months’ worth of his salary to his school, a government run institution at Ayapakkam in Chennai. “But I’ve not done anything big. I’ve only given it back to my alma mater,” he says modestly.
While insisting that he’s not enjoying the sudden attention from the media, Venkateshwara agrees to tell us further only because he hopes that this might inspire more officers to come forward and help others.
The 37-year-old head constable, whose family originally hails from Andhra Pradesh, joined the school in 1981 and studied there for about eight years, before moving out after completing his Class 8.
Venkateshwara’s donation to his school will be in the form of new desks and fans for the classrooms. The head constable adds that donations to government schools cannot be in the form of money.
Noting that he made his way up in life amidst challenges, Venkateshwara says he hopes that his gesture inspires more students from his old school to persevere in life.
“I too came from a poor family. This school has made me what I am today. I hope more students are inspired to become successful in their life,” he says.
Venkateshwara has also been actively donating whatever he can to special schools and old age institutions whenever possible. He also tells us that he enjoys organising alumni meets for his school.
The policeman has also provided financial support to IAS aspirants in addition to nurturing young police aspirants. “I frequently take up tutoring for those who want to train to join the academy. If fact, I am here because of my school and the support I received from Sub Inspector Mohammad Anwar sir. He was the one who trained me and helped me with my gym fees. I was able to join the force because of him,” he says, adding that he wants to emulate his mentor.
Father to an 8-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, Venkateshwara Rao was previously employed with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) for 13 years.
Venkateshwara is also concerned about the rising drug abuse among teenage students, especially boys in the city. “I got wind of such rumours and I hope to do something about it,” he concludes.