Poverty had forced Ahmed Ali into illiteracy but could not stop him from making spread of education his life’s mission.
Ali, a rickshaw-puller from Madhurbond village under Patherkandi circle of Karimganj district, said he could not study because his family was extremely poor and he had to take up pulling rickshaws to run his family. He regretted being uneducated and resolved that he would never allow this “tragedy” to befall any child in his village.
In the last four decades, the septuagenarian has established nine schools – three lower primary schools, five middle English schools and a high school in Madhurbond and its adjoining areas. He had established the first school – a lower primary school – in his village in 1978 by selling his land and collecting small amounts of money from the villagers. The three lower primary schools have been provincialised by the government and others are in queue.
Ali’s target is to establish 10 educational institutions. With nine already set up, he now wants to establish a college in the area. “I am getting old and want to make my village a developed one through education,” he said. “Illiteracy is a sin, the root cause of all ills. Most families face problems because of lack of education,” he added.
Ali, who has two wives and seven children, is happy that he has been able to educate his children, “at least at the lower level”, in the schools set up by him. He is also happy that the children of villagers are studying in these schools, some of them are well established and some have even got jobs.
Ali has no regrets about his profession. He believes every profession has its own dignity and proudly identifies himself as a rickshaw-puller.
The philanthropist never named any of the schools after himself as he prefers to work behind the scene. Only the high school was named after him as the villagers insisted.
For his life-long efforts in spreading the light of education in his village and the adjoining areas, Ali was recently felicitated by Patherkandi MLA Krishnendu Paul. Lauding the septuagenarian’s philanthropic work, Paul said Ali was a “rare personality” and announced having sanctioned Rs 11 lakh for the development of Ahmed Ali High School from the multi-sectoral development programme fund under the Union ministry of minority affairs.