Behind its calm walls and the seemingly quiet facade, the Krishnachandrapur High School, situated in the idyllic South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, has several interesting stories to tell, all thanks to its fiery headmaster, Chandan Kumar Maiti, who goes above and beyond of what is required of him.
He not only assists his students in every way he can but also helps save lives. Read on, to know how.
South 24 Parganas, amongst other districts in West Bengal, tops the national list in child and human trafficking. Young, hapless girls are married off, to older men in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.
In June 2017, a teenage girl from rural Bengal gave triple talaq to her husband, who opposed her wish to study. Her father, a tea stall owner, immediately married her off, even though she was just a Class IX student.
The girl was slowly sucked into the wormhole of household chores her in-laws heaped on her, in an attempt to discourage her from studying.
On a visit to her parents’ home, the girl decided to stay on. She got admitted to the Krishnachandrapur High School, and her determination impressed Maiti, who waived her admission and tuition fees.
In May 2017, the headmaster foiled a marriage plan involving a Class X student of his school, who happened to be a Kanyashree aid recipient. An anonymous letter, spilling the wedding plan beans, reached Maiti’s office.
The headmaster immediately informed the cops, and Mujibur Rehman, the BDO, who reached the girl’s house. When their suspicions were confirmed, the authorities declared the marriage couldn’t happen. When the girl’s family voiced concern about societal stigmas, the headmaster offered to take up the child’s education costs, and get her admitted into a hostel.
In the same month, Maiti played guardian angel to a student, who lacked the funds to study and had to help his father in the fields. The boy would have given up studies in Class VII, but Maiti took him in, and even admitted him into the hostel, to ensure that his education did not suffer.
Maiti last helped a student barely 11 days ago. A 15-year-old girl was reportedly married off to a 50-year-old man in the Kashmir valley, forcibly. When the girl escaped from confinement and made her way back to South 24 Parganas, her father allegedly refused to acknowledge her.
The girl approached Maiti and submitted a written complaint to him, which the headmaster sent to the Mathurapur Police Station, and to the Block Development office. Since the girl’s parents have denounced her, Maiti has allowed her to stay in the school’s hostel.
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With tremendous risk to himself, and to the children involved, the dutiful headmaster goes beyond just books, to help students. He understands the importance of education, which can be the sole tool to empower these kids so that they leave dangerous environments and times behind, and can build a future.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)