Ananda Siksha Niketan in Murshidabad district of West Bengal presently provides completely free education to 977 students up to class VIII. But the actual story is interesting. This endeavor started off as a child’s play. Babbar Ali, a 17 year old lad taught his siblings and cousin as a teacher after he being educated . His father, a small crop merchant inpired Babbar to come up with this project called Ananda Siksha Niketan. Starting off with just Rs. 600, this school imparted education to all the backward people who are deprived of any form of education under the leadership of Babbar. Once the news spread, the school was flooded with funds arriving from the District magistrate, government officials, Ramakrishna Mission and other sources. The school offers the books of the West Bengal board curriculum providing books for free coming from government till class V. For the students persuading studies from class VI books are offered from the school fund.
This school started off in the year 2002 with only a small number of students. But with time, it spread its wings attracting a large number of students who wants to study. Initially the school started operating in Babbar Ali’s room itself. As Tulu mashi rang the bell, Ali got transformed into a responsible and strict teacher. He was the sole teacher and the founding fees of 600 rupees was arranged by his father who is a small scale businessman of agricultural products, crops and fertilisers ! In a small room the classes begin at 3 pm with 10 teachers working with all their heart and soul for all the seven days. The students are from different age groups as they cater to them who were not allowed to attend school at a young age. The lane in front of Ali’s house presently serves as a running track during their sports day. However, Ali has managed to buy an acre land in order to expand his school.
A graduate in English, Babbar Ali has been acclaimed to be the youngest headmaster in the world by the BBC. His commendable effort to teach and start of an institution at such a tender age is noteworthy of praise. It brings a ray of hope to all the backward societies in India where the literacy rate is still the minimum. Ali’s initiative to spread education to all free of cost is a message to this world of dying humanity!