How This Teacher From Bengal Turned Retirement Into A New Beginning And Landed A Padma Shri Award Too

The day Sujit Chattopadhyay received his postgraduate degree, he was eager to return to his village, Ausgrum in Bengal, to teach. Despite higher salary offers from schools in bigger towns, Sujit found immense value in the humble ₹169 he earned at his village school. His heart was set on teaching students who needed a quality teacher the most.

What To Know: After dedicating 39 years of his life to school, mandatory retirement at age 60 forced him to leave the classroom. However, Sujit wasn’t ready to settle down just yet. Shortly after retirement, three young tribal girls, hungry to learn, cycled over 23 kilometres to seek lessons from him. Overjoyed by their dedication, Sujit agreed to teach them, asking for only one rupee and four chocolates for his annual fee.

Denied a classroom at his old school, Sujit transformed his verandah into a space for teaching. Since its humble beginning with three students in 2004, his Pathshala has grown to teach over 3000 students annually, primarily young tribal girls.

Despite his accolades, including receiving the prestigious Padma Shri award, Sujit remains a simple teacher who cherishes his role. Still delighting in his students’ achievements and occasional chocolates, he opens his doors to all, wishing to teach until his last breath.

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