Today I am going to tell you all the story of a teacher whom everyone fondly calls ‘Master Moshai’. This 77-year-old teacher from Bardhaman has been conferred with the Padma Shri award in 2021.
77-year-old Sujit Chattopadhyay has been working for the education of rural and tribal students. Let’s know his story.
It has been more than decades since he has been teaching those students tirelessly. He is a village school teacher who is popularly known as ‘Master Moshai’.
In the school of Master Moshai, there are students who are coming from very poor families. Many students even come by cycling and the distance from their home to this school is approx. 20-25 km. Many of them even can’t afford a cycle; they come here walking by foot, for miles.
They all do this to study from Master Moshai and have a chance to education. And what does he takes in return? Only Rs 2 per year, as his Guru Dakshina.
Sujit Chattopadhyay, the Master Moshai:
Master Moshai lives in Aushgram of Bardhaman which is barely three hours away from the urban landscapes of Kolkata. This village has a serenity surrounded by calmness everywhere around.
This is where Sujit Chattopadhyay has started his school in the year 2004. He is a retired principal of the school Ramnagar Uccha Madhyamik Vidyalaya.
Along with the work of teaching and educating the tribal and rural students, he has been also working towards promoting the concepts of living with social equality as well as an eco-friendly living. Besides being a teacher, Sujit Chattopadhyay is also an active warrior of socio-environmental awareness.
After his retirement, Master Moshai wanted to devote his life to the purpose of uplifting students coming from rural and tribal backgrounds.
Sadai Fakirer Pathshala:
Sujit Chattopadhyay’s school is named ‘Sadai Fakirer Pathshala’. The name Sadai Fakirer Pathshala’ translates as the Eternal Fakir’s School. This school is located at Aushgram, a village in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district.
He started teaching in this school in 2004. At first, Master Moshai wanted to get a place for rent and start his school there.
But he could not find any suitable place for this purpose. Finally, he started his Pathshala in the courtyard of his own house.
The school started with only 3 students in the initial days. And now, it has 350 students coming from mainly indigenous communities. These students are very loyal to their teachers and attend their classes regularly.
About eighty percent of the girls from this school are coming from lower-middle-class families.
Mainly, Master Moshai gives lessons on Bengali or Geography. However, this retired principal is always conscious about sharing views on the things happening in the world, in order to make his students aware of the present world too.
Life at Pathshala:
Sadai Fakirer Pathshala starts sharp at 6:30 AM in the morning. With the serenity and calmness of early morning, the students start learning their lessons from their revered Master Moshai.
In the chilling cold of winter mornings, sometimes, school starts even before sunrise. The school ends at 6 PM in the evening.
In the pathshala, Master Moshai teaches social sciences to the students who are in their secondary classes. Along with this, he teaches Bengali to the students who are in their undergraduate courses.
When it comes to setting the standard of these classes, everyone will find them no different from the standard of any good school. The school even has its own registers where the regular attendance of the students is recorded.
Additionally, regular parent-teacher meetings are arranged in this Pathshala. Master Moshai’s nephew Utsav assists him in this entire venture and manages the operation with skills.
Decades ago, three girls came to Sujit Chattopadhyay, to learn from him. He was then a retired teacher, with a lot of time in hand, and relentlessly looking for an opportunity to make them used for the best purpose.
When he came to know from those girls that they used to travel over 20 km daily to his house, only to be his students, he became overwhelmed. With those girls, he started the journey of Sadai Fakirer Pathshala.
And this way, he continues to teach valuable lessons to his students, as their guiding light, ‘Master Moshai’.
(This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.
This year, I have chosen ‘Access to Education’ as my Cause A Chatter theme. Read the other posts of this series here. Stay tuned as I am bringing you a lot more.)