STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Kolkata traffic cop saves money to offer free education, rehabilitation to over 100 tribal children

Mukherjee’s Puncha Nabadisha Model School offers a roof over the head of 126 Sabar children, enough food every day and basic education free of cost.

Published: 25th October 2020 07:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2020 07:34 AM   |  A+A-

Mukherjee vowed to educate Sabar children because he had seen them being dragged away for one crime or another (Photo | Express)

Mukherjee vowed to educate Sabar children because he had seen them being dragged away for one crime or another (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

WEST BENGAL: Arup Mukherjee loves the sight of children going to school. The  traffic constable in Kolkata had made a promise to himself when he was hardly six years old at the behest of his grandfather: when he grows up, he would save money and open a school, some day. 

He joined Kolkata police in 1999 and started saving immediately. Now 43, when Mukherjee is not managing traffic, he is busy pursuing his mission to rehabilitate children belonging to the Sabar tribe community, considered the poorest section.

He convinces their unlettered parents to send their daughters and sons to a boarding school that he has set up in Barabazar block in Purulia district.

Mukherjee’s Puncha Nabadisha Model School offers a roof over the head of 126 Sabar children, enough food every day and basic education free of cost.

He is known as ‘Sabar Pita ‘(Sabar’s father) in the region. His zeal to educate children from the Sabar tribe arose from his childhood experience of seeing policemen frequently dragging the poor, helpless people of the community for one crime or another. 

“I saw them being ostracised, and not given jobs. They took to crime. My grandfather would tell me that the Sabars were not educated, and so were unable to find jobs. When I persisted with my grandpa what I could do for them, he told me to grow up and start earning and then think of something for the poor Sabar children. I set my goal, then,” recalls Mukherjee.

Among the Sabar people, Mukherjee is knon as  sabar Pita

Mukherjee’s school became a reality in 2011. The initial fund of Rs 2.5 lakh for the school in Puncha village, around 280 km from Kolkata, where he lives, was from his savings. He took a bank loan of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 from his mother to build five rooms with asbestos roof on a plot donated by a friend of his father. The school started with 15 children. It is an institution now with 126 children, aged between 4 and 15 years.

It took time to convince the Sabars. “I would tell them to send their children to study for the sake of their future. That struck a chord with the community,” he said. Around 20,000 members of the Sabar tribe live in five blocks of Purulia district. The children who go to Mukherjee’s school are provided lodging, food, clothes and education up to Class IV.

After that, schooling continues in the secondary and high schools in the area. “I use Rs 20,000 of my salary for the school. We have farmlands which help me run my family,” says Mukherjee. “Many poor Sabar parents came to me with a request to include their children in my boarding school because they were unable to feed them.

The condition under which the Sabars live is pathetic.” Mukherjee’s effort has led to an adverse reaction on his service career. “My superiors are aware of my school. I faced departmental proceedings on two occasions for going on leave to visit the distressed children. It would have been better had I been transferred to my area. Whenever I come to know that the children need me, I can’t stay in Kolkata,” he says.

Guardian angel for the poor tribal children 
Around 20,000 members of the Sabar tribal community are living in five blocks of Purulia district of West Bengal. The children who go to Mukherjee’s school are provided place to stay, food, clothes and education up to Class IV. After Class IV, schooling continues in the secondary and high schools in the area. “I spend my Rs 20,000 salary entirely for the school. We have lands for farming that helps me to run my family,” Mukherjee said.

Ready to pay the price to bring a positive change
It took Mukherjee time to convince the community to send their children to study. Once they had the trust that he  did not have any other motive, they agreed to do so. But unfortunately, the traffic constable’s superiors have not appreciated his noble work. On two occasions, he has faced departmental proceeding for taking leave to visit the children. But Mukherjee says he is ready to pay the price if his efforts can bring a section  of people into the mainstream. 

126-YEAR-OLD PUJA AT PRANAB’S ANCESTRAL HOUSE
The 126-year-old Durga Puja at the ancestral house of Pranab Mukherjee in West Bengal’s Birbhum district is being organised as usual but for every single moment misses the presence of the patriarch, who died in August this year. He would make it a point to come to the Miriti village during puja days every year despite his hectic schedule as a Union minister and later as the President of India. The only time he could not visit was during 2015 after his wife’s death.

woman assaults traffic cop when asked on helmet
A traffic police constable was beaten up by a woman, after he intercepted the two- wheeler she was travelling on without wearing a helmet in Kalbadevi area of Mumbai. As a video of the incident went viral on social media, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut tweeted saying action must be taken against her.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp