Hyderabad: Guguloth Shankar Naik is probably the first one with a doctorate from his community to become one among the new Telangana State Information Officers, appointed on February 10. Hailing from Bavojigudam village, under Maripeda Mandal in Mahabubabad district, Shankar’s rise from a non-privileged background to become a government official serving Telangana state is a story full of struggles.
With a humble upbringing, with both parents into daily wage agricultural labour, money was always a problem to Naik’s family. “It would be an understatement if we said struggle. We literally spared no effort to make ends meet, and my parents, despite their shortcomings, made sure that I got educated,” says 33-year-old Shankar.
అమ్మ నాన్న లతో మా ఇంటి దగ్గర సరదాగా ఒక ఫోటో pic.twitter.com/CMz6j718F7
— Dr.Guguloth Shankar Naik (@gshankarnaik2) February 9, 2020
Shankar’s story is evidence of the fact if given the time and space to get properly educated, students from marginalized communities can move forward and earn a post in the government services. Walking around 15 kilometres to and fro, to get proper schooling seemed like a necessity, he says. With proper encouragement from his parents, Shankar went on to take an M.Phil and a doctorate on the topic, ‘Tribal culture and lifestyle’ from Osmania University.
He was awarded the doctorate in the year 2019. An alumnus of University of Hyderabad, Shankar Naik took his master’s degree in Telugu from University of Hyderabad. “Hyderabad Central University was a turning point in my life. At that time, the spark of Telangana agitation was brewing among the students. Even I took part in these ‘padayatras’ where we walked for maybe 400 kilometres, from Osmania University to Warangal. It was a cause that I felt that I should stand by,” says the officer.
Fast forward to the present, his entry into TRS politics further paved the way for his appointment as one among the five newly appointed Telangana State Information Commissioners. “In my village, most people are illiterate. They haven’t heard of an RTI, or what benefits it can bring. Even my parents do not have an idea about this. But they know that my hard work has finally bore fruit. I had earlier turned down a police constable post in 2008, hoping to get into a higher post. Now, with this appointment, I hope will be able to bring forward more people from my community to get empowered,” signed off Shankar Naik.