They say all it takes to run a school is a bunch of enlightened minds. Proving the adage right is the 65-year-old Qaumi Senior Secondary School in Old Delhi.
The Urdu-medium school has no plastered roof or concrete walls and has been running out of makeshifts tents and tin sheds for 36 years, ever since the school building was razed during the Emergency in 1976.
However, the 700 students of the cradle now stare at an uncertain future, with the cradle being forced shut due to an accommodation hurdle and the Delhi government not coming forward to accommodate any of its students.
Interestingly, the Shahi Eidgah's management committee had offered its premises to the school as a temporary arrangement during the Emergency some 36 years ago.
However, the committee has recently informed the school authorities to find alternative land and shift out.
Officials said after the five-storey school building in Sarai Khalil area was demolished during the Emergency on May 15, 1976, the school shifted to the open ground inside the Shahi Eidgah.
"Our purpose is to just educate these children who belong to the economically weaker classes so that they can have a future," said Mohabbat Ali, principal of the school.
This government-aided minority school, that has classes from I to XII is run in two shifts, with the 'classrooms' separated from each other by flimsy tin sheets.
The classes are made up of rows of worn out desks and an old blackboard.
"The children brave both the harsh heat and the unbearable cold of Delhi to come and study here. When it rains, the school is shut down sometimes since the area gets flooded," said Parvez Ahmed, a member of the staff.
Despite these severe odds, the 26 students who appeared for the class 12 board exams last year managed to pass school officials claimed. The school has been fighting to get land for many years and has approached various ministers and politicians.
"The then DDA chairman BR Tamta had promised the school land. Since 1976, all government officials have shed expressed solidarity for no one has delivered. However, we may be forced to shut down the school now leaving the future of hundreds in the dark," said Firoz Bakht Ahmed, a social activist aware of the issue.