Education is a basic necessity for all. It helps you in living a better life. If the citizens of a country are educated, they can easily bring out ways to become self-sufficient. Educated citizens can take right decisions themselves without any influences. An economically independent society is the stepping stone to combined productivity which eventually leads to the economic growth of a country as a whole. Education is, therefore, the backbone of a country. Today, we will share with you the story of a young man who aims at bringing changes with the help of a powerful weapon called education. He started educating the children of his village and surrounding villages when he was only 9! And, he is still continuing this noble work. Meet Babar Ali, who was named “The youngest headmaster in the world” in 2009 by BBC.
The journey of Babar Ali so far
Babar Ali was only 16 when BBC named him “The youngest headmaster in the world” in 2009. He comes from a low-income family of Murshidabad, West Bengal and his father is a jute trader. Babar learnt the importance of education at a very young age. This wouldn’t have become possible without his father’s efforts of admitting him to a proper school. Babar is among the few from his village who received a formal education.
During his school days, he had to travel 10kms daily to reach his school (Beldanga CRGS High School). That was the only school in close proximity to his village. Whatever he learnt from school, he used to disseminate the knowledge among other children of his village and neighbouring villages who were not privileged enough to go to school.
On his way back from school, Babar would see the children of his village doing odd jobs like farming, taking the cattle grazing, or, just wasting their time playing around the whole day. “It just occurred to me why not teach them what I learn in my class,” he recalls while telling how it all started. And, he still does all this for free.
Babar Ali’s Ananda Siksha Niketan
Babar runs his school in the backyard of his thatched house. His father, Nasiruddin Sheikh always supported this venture of his son. In 2005, he suggested his son to name the school “Ananda Siksha Niketan” and contributed Rs. 600 for its set up. In the initial days, it was a tough task for Babar to convince the children to come regularly. Many use to drop out from the classes. He then started organizing different competitions in his school at regular intervals and the best performers were given gifts in the form of chocolates and toffees. He did all this from the meagre amount of pocket money which he used to receive from his father. Babar Ali’s strategy worked. He started getting good attendance after such events.
The school which started as a play school in the early days now have more than 350 enrolled students. Six former students of Ananda Siksha Niketan are now serving as teachers of this school. Presently, the school has ten teaching and non-teaching staff. In the last few years, help came from the village panchayat, government officials, District Magistrate of Murshidabad and Ramakrishna Mission. Babar Ali’s Ananda Siksha Niketan has grown quite big now, and it is running classes up to the 10th standard. He now dreams of having a permanent establishment for his school and the construction work has also started.
Babar Ali graduated from Berhampur Krishnath College (under Kalyani University of West Bengal, India) in English Honours and is currently pursuing his M.A. in English Literature. Babar can now be seen participating as a guest speaker in various events of prestigious schools across India. His story and his achievements are something which we should be proud of.
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