Babar Ali’s school, named Anand Siksha Niketan, is a dilapidated concrete structure with half-torn posters covering it, in the backyard of Babar’s home. It functions as a school simply because it is manned by ordinary people with an extraordinary zeal to make a difference in the lives of children who are denied the privilege of education. Like Tagore’s Shantiniketan, hundreds of children sit in the open, under the blue sky, to learn what other children would spend a fortune on. The children of the village who work as maids to cook, clean, wash clothes and dishes for their employees or as mechanics, day labourers, grass cutters and livestock herders come voluntarily to Ali’s school in the afternoon after finishing their chores.
They are taught and taken care of by 10 volunteer teachers and 60 regular attendees. As the teachers are students in the first instance, there is no generation gap between the teachers and the pupils. They are offered midday meals to. Though Babar started this with rice from his father’s field, he soon received help from well-wishers, social workers and the Government of West Bengal.