|(Top) Work in progress on the plot donated by Jagadish Biswas (above) in the village where he grew up. Pictures by Amit Biswas
Hanskhali, Sept. 12: A police officer returned to his childhood home after retirement last year and saw children still trudging to school in a distant village or dropping out, unable to bear the trouble.
Jagadish Biswas did not do his bit by writing petitions, he bought a plot for Rs 200,000 and gave it to the administration to build a school.
The former deputy sup- erintendent of police would have known how the system worked.
Santrapara in Nadia’s Hanskhali, about 70km from Calcutta, will now have a school. Construction has begun.
Jagadish, 61, went door-to-door in Santrapara and neighbouring Harindanga and Chupria — having a population of about 5,000 — in the past 10 months and concluded that children wanted to study but could not because the nearest primary school was in Bhowanipore, 3km away.
“In these Muslim-majority villages, most children drop out after one or two years because of poverty at home and the lack of initiative from parents to send them far away,” said Jagadish.
He approached some well-to-do villagers to raise funds but decided to do it himself when the effort proved futile.
Jagadish bought a five-cottah plot with the money he had got after retirement and donated it to the district primary school council.
The land was registered in the council’s name last week.
“In my long career in the districts, I saw many Muslim youths going astray because of lack of education. So when I found that the children of the place where I grew up were not going to school, I thought something must be done urgently,” said Jagadish.
His wife Sandhya, the headmistress of Bina Girls’ High School in Garia, Calcutta, and son Jayanta, a doctor at Palashi block hospital in Nadia, backed his decision.
“My father did not initially tell us anything. When he did, I thought he had done something which others should have done before,” said Jayanta.
The council has decided to shift the primary institution running from a high school in Bhowanipore to Santrapara.
A school could not be built in Santrapara in all these years “because we were not getting land”, said Bibhash Biswas, the chairman of the primary school council.
There is a private prima- ry school in Bhowanipore and two other primary schools in adjoining Bogula. But a local club, which had donated the land for the high school 40 years ago, is unwilling to part with the primary school.
“It’s unfortunate that they are opposing the shift. We have begun construction on the land donated by Jagadishbabu,” Biswas said.
There are 150 students and six teachers in the Bhowanipore primary school now.
“We will resist the shift tooth and nail. This club had donated land for the first school of the area. The government simply cannot forget our contribution now,” club secretary Bablu Adhikary said.