28 November, 2020

An experiment with grassroot education without the interfering system

Nilayan Dutta
An experiment with grassroot education without the interfering system
Till a few years ago, muck and roaming pigs greeted you at this spot at Kadapara, off the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in Calcutta. Today, a neatly-swept courtyard and a nursery with young, vibrant plants vie for attention. A modest board announces: "Sevak Nagar". Perhaps, on your way to the swank heritage park that has come up next to this Harijan colony, you'll find a band of young children singing to the rhythm of tambourines. Curious, you ask, who's behind this transformation? The voices, young and old, exclaim in unison: "Master-moshai" (teacher sir).

Master-moshai, Kalyanbroto Das, emerges from the crumbling cottage, his emaciated frame belying the dynamo of energy he is at 54. He has lived in this colony with his wife and two daughters since the '70s after he decided to shift from his village Mirgoda in Midnapore district. But the seed of his social commitment was sown in the village itself. Recalls Kalyanbroto: "My teacher told me I cannot achieve anything since I stammered." But he had his own ideas about education. "The way the teachers taught us, whether it was...


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