At 9, he taught poor students; at 22 he inspires many
By Team Billion Beats | JAN 2016
Named the ‘youngest headmaster in the world’ by BBC in October 2009, at the age of 16, Babar Ali is an Indian student and teacher from Murshidabad, West Bengal. He started a school, Ananda Siksha Niketan – Home of joyful learning, in his backyard when he was just 9-years-old.
Now 22, he plans to do more good work for the country in addition to Ananda Siksha Niketan. “Spread education for all and work for education for children who need education,” he told Billion Beats.
Son of a Jute trader and a homemaker, with two brothers and a sister, who are all studying at present, it was because of his father that the inclination towards education and the understanding of its significance seeped into him.
“My father believed that education is the true religion for all and hence sent me to a school that was 10 kms away from home. My father wanted me to learn from every community and hence motivated me to pursue education at Beldanga C.R.G.S High School despite the distance,” he said.
When Babar Ali was in fifth standard, the idea to share knowledge with children who were not going to school set in on him. Little Babar gathered about eight children and started teaching them.
“The pursuit became a resolve and it gradually grew to become Ananda Siksha Niketan - Home of joyful learning,” he said. The school at present houses 300 regular students studying from standards I - VIII.
The journey was not easy though. He recalled that many expressed doubts on his aspiration to learn, teach and run a school.
There was considerable religious resistance as well in spreading modern education among children. Above all, the task to get children who were working and to sustain their education once they were in was difficult.
“But the biggest challenge was to convince their parents,” he said.
On his dream towards a better India, he said, “The better we become, the more better our country will be. Nothing can stand against firm determination, conviction and will power. Be selfless, do good and be good.”
He is now learning the nuances of technology, essential for administrative tasks.
Swami Vivekanda has been Babar Ali's role model. He quoted Vivekananda: ‘Arise, awake and stop not, till the goal is reached' as his most favorite ones. Ali can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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