December 4th, 2016
“I am a policeman today, but I think that no matter which profession I had been in, be it doctor, engineer, photographer, I would have committed my time towards society. My job now gives me a larger perspective so that I can leverage it,” says Nishant Tiwari, IPS, Purnea, Bihar, founder of Meri Pathshala.
It’s just another evening; one can see some children with bright faces and satchels on their back trotting towards their pathshala. A very typical scene but what makes it different is the venue and the teacher, in a police uniform. Nishant Tiwari, The Superintendent of Police and other police officers, can be seen imparting education to underprivileged children in their very unusual school “Meri Pathshala” (My School).
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Nishant said that he was working as software engineer in the United States and then he relocated to India to join the police force in Bihar. As one expects from his job, he is always working long hours and interacting with people on a daily basis which gives him a clear picture of the underlying problems people face.
Many problems grip Bihar such as corruption, lack of education, low literacy rates, lack of potable water, and most importantly, the marginalised population of migrants who are there to earn a living. The migrants have no access to basic facilities. Their children who are enrolled in schools in their native villages have to move with them often, thereby causing a disruption to their studies.
But since they would fled from other parts of the state and would stay in Bihar for only a few months, no school granted them admission. Nishant initiated the conversation with them and realised that it was critical to impart education to them. These people didn’t know how to spell or write their names.
Nishant told The Logical Indian, “It is necessary for them to read and write. Even to avail benefits from several government schemes and to understand the guidelines of Below Poverty Line, they have to read documents. They need to be literate because it is important for them to read any document before putting a thumb impression on it. And we want that they know how to sign their names, not just use their thumb impression. They should be upfront and be able to understand what schemes government has for them. I had to demonstrate it to them, and once they understood, they readily agreed to let their children get an education.”
But since the village school was far, they couldn’t join it. That is when Nishant decided to bring education to their doorsteps. Every evening children and women sit and learn. Nishant himself was astonished to get such response. He divided the group into children, adults and old/senior people.
The children’s education was on priority as it would stop them from becoming associated with criminal activities. The kids listen to moral stories as part of their lessons.
The adults’ group has been further divided into Women’s Education and Youth Empowerment.
Once the lady of the family realises the importance of education, she ensures that her children go to school and become a role model in society. The girls who have passed class 7 or 8 conduct classes of young children and teach them alphabets and numbers. For the young people, they organise cricket tournament. For older adults, they organise health campaigns.
Nishant feels that education is the way to curb criminalisation.
It has now become an everyday affair, and kids love to learn at Meri Pathshala. Many local organisations and villages approached Nishant to open pathshalas in their areas too, and Nishant facilitates the stationary and water filters to them.
The Logical Indian hopes that more people come forward to make the society a better place. It is especially important that there is good rapport and trust between the public servants and citizens. Nishant and his officers are leading the way to a more peaceful community. Kudos to all.