Army jawan's widow fulfills his dream, builds a school in Kolhapur

Updated: Feb 13, 2019, 10:50 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Refusing help from politicians after he was martyred, Indian Army jawan's widow asked them for aid to build it, so children in her husband's village could pursue their education uninterrupted till Std X

Army jawan's widow fulfills his dream, builds a school in Kolhapur
The Shaheed Jawan Satappa Mahadev Patil Vidyalaya

The Indian Army motto, 'Service before Self,' seems to be ingrained not just into the minds of its personnel, but also into the minds of their families. The selfless young widow of an Indian Army jawan has fulfilled his dream of building a school in his village, demonstrating this. The Shaheed Jawan Satappa Mahadev Patil Vidyalaya, was inaugurated by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj at Belewadi Masa village in Kolhapur District, last Sunday.

Fulfilling husband's dream
Satappa Patil was married to Ashwini after her HSC in 2011. The 24-year-old Gunner Operator was posted with the 26 Air Defence in Keran sector in Jammu Kashmir, and was martyred in cross-firing by terrorists in 2013. Ashwini was widowed at 23, barely a year and half after their wedding. But like her warrior husband, the brave woman thought of others and not herself, amid the tragedy.

Gunner operator Satappa Patil was martyred in Keran sector in Jammu Kashmir in 2013
Gunner operator Satappa Patil was martyred in Keran sector in Jammu Kashmir in 2013

After the funeral many politicians offered her money and asked if she wanted a gas agency, a petrol pump or anything else for her livelihood. She only asked for help to fulfill her husband's wish of building a school in his village. She vowed to fulfill his dream.

A struggle for education
After their wedding, Patil and Ashwini had gone to his village, where he told her about his school days. He told her the village school did not have classrooms for Stds VIII, IX and X. These classes would be held in a Hanuman temple. Ashwini said, "Girls who had their periods wouldn't be allowed in for those few days. On Saturday or whenever there was a religious festival or a meeting in the temple, there would be a holiday for the school, or classes would be held after the event."

Ashwini added, "I could see the efforts and pain he and his friends took while struggling to get an education. He said he would build a school after retirement so children in his village could pursue their education without a break."

Donations helped build school
She said after Patil was martyred, many people offered her help. "I don't know what came over me. But I asked them if they could help me build a school in the village. I did the paperwork and it was kickstarted with the help of former chief minister Prithviraj Chavhan's wife, Satvasheela. She also donated Rs 20 lakh for the school. I also received Rs 1 lakh from the Mandlik Sugar Factory. Its owner also gave me the land for the school. The amount from other donors was R2 lakh. I also donated frequently from my pension of Rs 15,000 per month and we built the school."

Construction on the school building began in 2014 and was completed recently. Classrooms were built for Stds VIII, IX and X. There are seven classes including an additional study room and a computer lab with 12 computers, besides toilets.

'Pray for our soldiers'
Ashwini, who is doing an MA in English and preparing for the Maharashtra Public Services Commission (MPSC) exam while staying with her parents in Karnataka, said, "I am connected to my husband through the school. He lives for me in the form of the school. I too want to serve the country. I want to be a class I officer or collector so that I can serve people. My husband is an inspiration to me and will always be so."

She also had a message for others, in which she remembered her husband's colleagues. She said, "We pray every day for our well-being and that of our loved ones'. But I suggest that you also pray for our soldiers and their safety on the border."

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