A cherished journey on Haj a few years back brought a revolution in his life. If you ask Akbar Sheikh, it seems like it’s never too late to start studying.
At 75, when most of them confine themselves to worldly matters, Sheikh has some other ideas. Hair already turned grey and having fulfilled all but one commitment in life: that of education — Sheikh decided to fight the rigours of studies. At the age of 75, he got himself enrolled in a primary school at Mominpura under Burnnagar, about 35 kms from Ujjain. Today, he is a proud student of class 5.
"I had gone on Haj at the age of 75. The problems that I faced there in reading or writing and getting other facilities made me decide that I will take to studies, come what may," said Sheikh while talking to HT.
And to get this education, Haji Akbar Sheikh has to donate a piece of land for the school and then took admission in it along with his grand kids.
"Getting him admitted in the school was not that easy. Seeing his sincerity and commitment, I have to take special permission from the education department for his admission," recalls Sadhana Chowdhary, the lone female teacher, who looks after the school administration as well. The school has, besides her, two male teachers for student strength of 120.
"It was not easy. The teething problems were there: from explaining him smallest possible details to giving homework, asking questions. But, he never gave up," said Chowdhary.
Sheikh, like a disciplined student, joins the morning prayers and doesn’t feel shy in sitting with small kids. His sincerity and dedication has paid off. He cleared every class exams with good marks and today he is in Class 5.
Sheikh is now gearing up for his next adventure. With no middle school in village, he now wants a middle school in the village so that he can continue with his new found love with studies.
Who says education has age bar? At least, not for Akbar Sheikh.