He is a student as well as a headmaster. He has huge responsibility on his young delicateshoulder. He runs a school which has 800 students. His only target is to educate poor children of his village. He is Babar Ali, a21 years old student of Murshidabad, West Bengal. Who started his own school at the age of nine.This is an inspirational story of a poor student to spread literacy in his area. He was named the “Youngest Headmaster in the world” by BBC, when he was 16 years old in 2009.
He started his school as a child’s play, but now it is his dream. It turned into a movement with a particular mission to educate each child of his area. He was the first member in his family who got proper education. His other dream is to become an IAS officer.
Babar used to attend his school far away from his home. The distance is almost 10 kilometers. That is the only school near his village. He was the student of Cossimbazar Raj Govinda Sundari Vidyapeeth. He used to take an auto rickshaw first and then used to walknear about 5 kilometers to reach his school. At the time of returning home he used to see other children of his village are either working or playing all day. He felt that these children need school. In 2002 Babar started his own school for these children. He was studious, sincere and smart student. After the school he devoted his time to his own school in his family’s backyard. In that school he is the headmaster of 800 students. In his school underprivileged students come to earn their fundamental rights of education for free of cost by walking miles. Yes, we get education against huge expenses. But Babar Ali a student provided that education for free of cost to the poor students.
Babar was one of the lucky people in his village that he got the chance of formal education. Babar lives in Bhapta village in Murshidabad with his three siblings and his parents in a straw covered house which is the size of a city kitchen. His father Nasiruddin Sheikh is a jute seller and a dropout who believes that the education is the true religion of human being. Initially he supported his son’s school with his income.
Their community provides free education to the students. But still parents have to pay for the school dresses and books. That is why many families avoid sending their children to the school. Their boys work as labourer, grass cutter, mechanics and girls works as maid. Babar Ali wanted to change the situation of his village children. So he started his own school for underprivileged children for free of cost under the guava tree without books, pen or pencil. Somehow he managed a blackboard made of terracotta. He managed chalks from his school teachers. He used to ask for broken chalks from his teachers. Later when his teachers came to know about his school they helped him with the boxes of chalks. Initially newspapers were their study material. Later he felt the need of books and notebooks. So he started visiting ‘Raddiwala’s shop for old books and half written notebooks. Babar Ali gives lessons just like he heard them in school from his teachers. But later he collected rice from the guardians of his students and he sold it to buy alphabet books. Later he wrote an application to the Pradhan of the local area. His father also helped him with 600 rupees. Then he arranged an inauguration program of his school. On that programme Panchayet members and local press came. On that event another school principal named his school Anand Siksha Niketan. Press covered the programme and theinformation reached to the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. He called him at Shanti niketan when Babar was in class 8. Babar Ali went to talk with Dr. Sen . On that meeting, former finance minister and other professors were also present. They encouraged him and sent Babar to meet the ministers and Government officers to get supplies for his students.
Anand Siksha Niketan finally started in 2002 with eight students. Slowly people came to know about his school and student increases. Many people helped him in his venture, Babar’s teachers, IAS officers, local cops and monks of local Ramkrishna mission. First he started mid-day meal in his school with the rice of his father’s field. Later it comes from the Government stock.
Actually he started his school out of a game at the age of nine. They used to play school where he used to teach his friends. His friends never have seen the inside of a school. So they enjoyedthe game of learning. Through this game Babar taught arithmetic to his friends.
After nine years, his school got 60 regular students, 250 students on roll call and 800 total students with 10 volunteer teachers who taught grade 1 to 8. His school is now registered by the West Bengal State Government. That means students are qualified to transfer to Government run local schools. The teachers of his school are all high school students. His open air school can’t even provide tables chairs but that is not important to the teacher or the student. Students study hard to make their future.
Babar sustained his dream to run the school with minor donations. Meanwhile he brought a wasteland with the prize money of Real Hero Award. But he failed to complete the building construction due to the shortage of the fund. The eight students with who Babar started his school were now studying in college. They are also working as the teacher in the school.
Babar was awarded The CNN IBN Real Hero Award from actor Amir Khan. BBC went to his village to cover his story. He became TED Fellow. News channel NDTV also honoured him for his great mission. The Karnataka Government has included Babar’s story in the English text book for the first year PU course.