| (Top) Girls in a makeshift classroom and Anwarul Haque Ansari (above) on the land for the new school building and hostel. Pictures by Partha Biswas
Kuli (Murshidabad), Aug. 17: Anwarul Haque Ansari yearned for a daughter but he did not get one.
But at 50, the father of three boys is a proud man, having donated over 17 bighas — nearly 6 acres — here for a girls’ school and hostel.
“I wanted a daughter but got several sons instead. When the school building comes up on my land, many girls will flock to study there. In a way, I’ll have many daughters,” said Anwarul, who did not go to college after higher secondary.
Anwarul, a contractor by profession, has given away all his land, about seven bighas of which was fallow.
“I used to cultivate the remaining 10 bighas, but I’ve made enough money by working for the irrigation department. I don’t need to do farming any longer. Muslim girls are backward in our district and I want more and more of them to come forward to study,” he said.
Anwarul lives about a kilometre from the plot donated to Al Hilal Mission, an education welfare body that will build the school and its hostel.
The mission, based near Barasat in North 24-Parganas, started a residential girls’ secondary school in rented buildings here in April. For the time being, classes V to IX have started with 84 students from across the state.
“My youngest son was a student of Al Hilal Mission’s school at Kadambagachhi. There, I was introduced to the founder of the mission, Sahabuddin Gayen. I told him I was ready to help if he was keen to do something to educate Muslim girls,” said Anwarul.
Anwarul’s eldest son Abdul Rahim Bux, 25, is a graduate and helps his father in his business. Moidul Haque, 23, is studying hotel management in Pailan, South 24-Parganas, and Javed Miandad, 19, is into aircraft engineering in a Bhubaneswar institute.
“I’m into business and my two brothers will be able to establish themselves in their own spheres. None of us wanted to be farmers. So, we had no objection to our father’s decision,” said Abdul.
Teacher-in-charge Abu Zakar said the school would follow the Madhyamik syllabus and will be upgraded to the HS level gradually. Once fully running, it will have 400 students.
Zakar said the school — the mission’s first girls’ institution — already has students from all districts except Darjeeling, Bankura and Purulia.
Class VIII student Sabina Khatoon, from Kaliachak in Malda, said her parents sent her here to ensure a proper academic atmosphere.
The girls play basketball and badminton. A table tennis board is on the way.