Staff Reporter, Kolkata: When the ‘sabar people’ still suffer from social stigma and ostracism in modern times, a constable of the Kolkata police has set an example by opening a school for them in Purulia.
The Sabar people are one of the Adivasi of the Munda ethnic group tribe who were
classed as one of the ‘criminal tribes’ under the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 during
the British Raj.
With this commendable initiative by Arup Mukherjee, more than 100 children from
backward classes get the opportunity to study in Puncha Nabadisha Model School.
Arup runs the school on his own salary which he draws by working as the constable
of the Kolkata South Traffic Guard. He gets more than 36,000 rupees as his salary
out of which he spends the maximum for his school. Not only the education of the
children, but he takes care of the books and their food three times a day. He
spends more than 20,000 rupees on these.
Arup Mukherjee joined Kolkata Police in the post of a constable in 1999. He had
saved some money since then. In 2010, he took a loan of Rs 1 lakh 50 thousand. Apart
from this, he took Rs 50 thousand from his mother. He began the work for his school at
the land provided to him by Khirodashi Mukherjee, a resident of Puncha village. He
named his school as Puncha Nabadisha Model School.
Arup began his journey with only 20 students in 2011. Presently, 112 students study
In a conversation with Kolkata24x7, Arup said, “I was very small then. I used to
hear about the thefts by Sabar people from my grandfather. After hearing this every
day, one day I asked my grandfather that why do the Sabar people steal.” My
grandfather said that they steal due to two reasons. One, because of hunger and
two, due to lack of education. Arup added that, “Then only I decided that I will
make a school for the Sabar people when I grow up.”
Arup said, “My school has facilities for teaching students from nursery to class 4.
He takes responsibility of those, who take admission in higher classes, for their
staying in school, food and private. But he is yet to get any governmental help for
Arup is a resident of Puncha’s adjoining village Parui, but has to stay in Kolkata for his
work. On trying to educate the Sabar community, he said, “I do not get any help
from the government for running my school. With the help of some people and my own
salary, I am trying educate the backward Sabar community and provide the
children with food. Whenever I wish, I visit them. I wander at several villages. I
wish to stay by their side at all time but my work does not permit me to. I do not
like staying away from them. Everyone takes birth due to some reason or the other,
which everyone cannot understand. But I know that I took birth for them.”