In a country where we are in a
continuous hunt for heroes and demi-gods to inspire us, the search
ends in a small hamlet in West Bengal.
Known for his passion for education,
Babar Ali is perhaps India's youngest school principal who is
teaching hundreds of poor students of his village in his own
16-year-old Babar says his only motto
in life is 'education for all'. Since 2002, every evening, he has
donned the role of a principal at the Anand Siksha Niketan in
Gangapur village which makes him India's youngest headmaster. The
students line up in Babar's backyard, where he teaches them just the
way his teachers teach him in school.
Babar Ali in an interview said that he
never wanted to play cricket or soccer when he was young but what he
loved the most was enacting the role of a teacher. What started off
as child play took serious shape in 2002 when Babar Ali, with the
help of his parents, set up a room to teach on his ancestral land.
He also added that when he was in
class V, he started the school with eight students. From a humble
beginning, the school today provides basic education for almost 800
students with the help of 10 well-qualified teachers. What is most
notable is that the students are taught for free as they come from
poor families - some even work as maids and cleaners in the mornings
and come to attend Babar's school in the afternoon.
But even most of the inspiring stories
have some grim realities which Babar has to face daily. The
government only provides funds for midday meal and books till class
IV and for the expenses he has to depend on donations. He, however,
hopes for better support in the coming years so he can make all his
fellow students and village kids literate, and able to stand on
their own feet.