A police station in Rajasthan is also a school for poor children. What's more, the officer in charge doubles up as the teacher!
Starting a school in the Ramsar police station in Barmer district was station officer Surendra Singh's idea. The reason behind the initiative was equally interesting - there was hardly any crime in the area covered by the station that is close to India's border with Pakistan.
So, Surendra Singh had no work on his hands. He came up with the idea of using his spare time to educate poor children from nearby villages.
Not only was the idea successful, it also brought the police closer to the community. People who earlier dreaded even the sight of khaki began to visit the police station to talk to Surendra Singh.
The policeman terms his initiative as "community policing" and says convincing villagers to send their children to study was the toughest part.
"I went around villages trying to convince villagers that we were actually interested in imparting education to their children free of cost. We started with just 12 kids about a year ago," he said.
Surendra Singh, who was transferred out a couple of months ago, is happy his school has attracted many students. "When I was transferred, there were around 70 students."
Thanks to him, the Ramsar police station had now come to be known as the "Thane Wala School" (police station school).
The school has not only imparted education but it has also distributed books. "We targeted poor children who had either not gone to school or dropped out, and therefore expecting parents to pay fees was foolhardy."
The children were more than happy as they could combine learning with a whole range of fun. They often got free cookies in between classes and were encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities.
"Master saab asked us to sing to the class. That made me feel very happy," says 10-year-old Leela.
Though Singh has been transferred, Mangi Lal, who now heads the police station, continues to run the school with equal enthusiasm.