Rajni Kumar is a name and face many of those in the field of education are familiar with. As founder principal of Springdales School, she has touched the life of thousands of members of the Springdalian Family, me included. Her memoirs as penned down by her at the age of 96 has many revelations and is a reminder of how one woman and the strength of her convictions has phenomenal power.
Her journey and future tryst with India began as a young woman, Nancy Joyce Margaret Jones, who falls in love with an Indian student studying in the United Kingdom. The determination shown by her in travelling alone to India to join her fiancé, who was ailing in a sanatorium in Punjab, is a trait that will continue in all that she undertakes in her life. Never one to look back and question herself, she embarks on a journey of love as well as personal growth. At no point does she come across as a victim of self doubt. Her adaptation of Indian culture and identity without it having been required of her speaks much about her love for the country, its people and, of course, her future husband.
Her accidental entry into the field of education, and achieving great success in the same, is the consequence of following her heart and a, lot of hard work. On a personal front, she speaks about living through the partition of India, resettlement in Delhi and losing a child, grieving and emerging from this loss with an amazing sensitivity and lack of bitterness. Whenever faced with difficult circumstances, in her personal or professional life, she has always taken the path less travelled and stood by her principles, even if it meant standing alone. A living example that tough times don’t last, tough women do! She has received much recognition and many awards, including the Tagore Award and the Padma Shri in 2011. She has been nominated as one of the women in the unique collective ‘1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005’ and her contributions have been recognized by Universities in United Kingdom as well as Government of South Africa. She continues with her commitment to educational and national causes pertaining to women and children as the Chairperson of Springdales Education Society.
Truly a gem of a lady, a warm human being, and a beacon in the field of education, Rajni Kumar is someone from who we can all learn a lot from.
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