Shri Satyanarayan Mundayoo Popularly known as Uncle Moosa conferred Padma Shri from the President of India
By Jon Pebi Tato
STATE: Lately, The President of India Shri Ramnath Kovind conferred Padma awards to 73 individuals, some posthumously, at a ceremony held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the 8th of November 2021, Of these, four were Padma Vibhushan, eight Padma Bhushan, and 61 Padma Shri awards for the year 2020, wherein there were 16 Padma Shri recipient from the North-East state and of that Shri Satyanarayan Mundayoo, popularly known as Uncle Moosa was proudly conferred the Padma Shri award.
"UNCLE MOOSA": A name that brings back the childhood memories
"Uncle Moosa" a name that has been a childhood memory for the entire generation of the 90s born and even that of early 20s is no less than a legendary tale. With white hair on his head, shrewd and keen-faced, big spectacle above the round wrinkled eyes, in a simple South Indian lungi and a dress, with a chappal and an Indian shoe, he walked the land of Mishmis for ages and decades, Propagating wisdom through knowledge, education through reading & experience through working on it.
"Kids repeat after me! chew chew chew...your food", "kids you must write for Chanda Mama magazine, read good books" etc remains a childhood memory for the editor himself.
Satyanarayan Mundayoo aka Uncle Moosa left no stone unturned in educating the children and mesmerizing them with self-styled rhymes and songs, and never ceased to bolster the youths towards reading and writing habits.
On the 8th of November 2021, he has been finally conferred the Padma Shri award from the President of India, which brought a sigh of happiness among the people of Arunachal Pradesh, especially the denizens of the Mishmi belt. Satyanarayan Mundayoo has mostly spent his life visiting and teaching across various schools, especially in the VKVs and other private schools like Intaya Public School, Ezengo Roing.
A brief background on Shri Satyanarayan Mundayoo:
Kerala-born Uncle Moosa quit his secure government job in the income tax department in Mumbai for a journey to the wilderness in a region where at times, it was difficult for an individual to travel in parts of the state. He would carry books in trunks using tattered state transport buses to reach the remote areas where tribal families live.
According to the bytes taken by Etalo Mega, In 2007, in collaboration with the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC) and the Vivekananda Trust, a gift of children's books and magazines became the first library as part of the Lohit Youth Library Movement in the government town of Tezu.
Satyanarayan Mundayoor or Uncle Moosa – how children call him – has spent more than 32 years in North-East India helming the affordable education to all and reading movements.
Uncle Moosa has also written a children’s book in Malayalam on the folk heritage of Arunachal Pradesh.
Uncle Moosa’s extraordinary efforts in reforming education in the northeast were recognized by the government and he is conferred with a Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian honour.
So far, Uncle Moosa has established 13 bamboosa libraries named after a bamboo plant in remote areas like Wakro, Chongkham, Lathaw, and Anjaw. These libraries are vast and boast more than 10,000 books ranging from the works of Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond to Amar Chitra Katha. These libraries turn into a hub of activities that include story-telling, quizzes, booking readings, and enactments.
He started a home library movement entrusting books to volunteers who in turn distribute books to children.
While in an interview with DDK Uncle Moosa was heard stating, "This award is not just for me but for the entire people of Arunachal Pradesh, the youths and children, Because it is them who has contributed in my journey for the reading habit in the state"
He was lauded by various eminent personalities and leaders of the state.
Uncle Moosa, a name that brings back the childhood memories of every youth who has ever come across him in the process of growing up.
The SPACE is immensely proud to congratulate him on receiving the country's fourth-highest civilian award, by the Hon'ble President of India.
Jon Pebi Tato, Managing Editor, The SPACE