29 November, 2020

Valmiki's children script a small epic of their own at this school

Valmiki's children script a small epic of their own at this school
After you wriggle your way through some of west Delhi’s notoriously clogged dirt-roads on a rainy morning, past the "RadheyKrishna Fast Food" centres, past the never-ending squatter settlements, the ferns sprouting from a toilet bowl atop a beautifully-crafted iron gate come as a surprise. The business of bathrooms is taken seriously at the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, we are told.

But this place isn’t about intricately-carved and painted urinals or commodes, nor the bowls’ role in history—"Toilets were the places where many conspiracies were hatched...Edward II was locked in his loo," says a message inside one toilet. On these premises, the dreams of around 350 children, now busy mugging up their Maths and English lessons from dog-eared textbooks, are taking shape.

Cliches ring so true for the Sulabh Public school. Indeed, it is a school with a difference—60 per cent of the children here come from scavenger families. They know that beyond the "A for Apple and B for Boy" lessons, the four walls of the school hold the promise of multiplying their...



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