Barely three hours away from the cacophony of Kolkata, the village of Ausgram in Burdwan wakes up to the characteristic aroma of sal forests and rangamati (red soil). The serene silence is only occasionally interrupted by the chirping birds. Amid all this, 76-year-old Sujit Chattopadhyay’s courtyard is bustling with a horde of curious youngsters, even on a lazy Sunday morning. Shop these amazing books to introduce your child to sustainability and environmental awareness!
Over 350 students, mostly from indigenous communities, regularly attend Chattopadhyay’s classes and about 80% of them are girls from lower-middle-class families. In between lessons of Bengali or Geography, the retired school teacher, affectionately revered as ‘Master Moshai,’ makes sure his students stay aware of the world around.
His fees? Rs 2 per year! Christened ‘Sadai Fakirer Pathshala’ (The Eternal Fakir’s School), Chattopadhyay’s unique school has been running at his Ausgram home since 2004, following his retirement as principal of Ramnagar Uccha Madhyamik Vidyalaya.