‘The teacher struck my daugh­ter’s name off the rolls’

PREM­LATA | 30 | PAR­ENT

Tehelka - - PERSPECTIVES - REVATI LAUL

NEW SAN­JAY CAMP, NEW DELHI

I HAVE been liv­ing in New San­jay Camp, near Okhla Phase 2 in New Delhi, for the past 15 years; with my hus­band, four daugh­ters and two sons. My hus­band is a rag­picker. He col­lects and sorts plas­tic bags. I sort rags. He makes about 6,000 a month. I make about 3,000. Four of our kids are of school-go­ing age. We ad­mit­ted them to a lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal school.

My el­der daugh­ter, Neha, 14, was about to fin­ish Class IV (she was 11 then), when she fell ill for eight days. Her teacher sent some­one to en­quire af­ter her; some­one in the neigh­bour­hood mis­in­formed that per­son, telling him that my daugh­ter has gone back to our vil­lage in Ut­tar Pradesh and won’t be com­ing back. With­out ver­i­fy­ing this with any of us, the teacher had my child’s name struck off the rolls. When my daugh­ter re­turned back to school, she was told she can no longer sit in the class. When I asked them why, they said her name has been taken off the rolls and that she has to be re-reg­is­tered. For this, the school asked for all kinds of pa­pers — they asked for an af­fi­davit and a birth certificate. Ear­lier, they had ad­mit­ted her with­out these doc­u­ments.

That was more than three years ago. I ran around for a month but did not suc­ceed in get­ting the re­quired doc­u­ments. I haven’t run around af­ter that. I think her heart lies else­where, not in stud­ies. Any­way, the schools are of no real use. My other daugh­ter is study­ing in the same school in Class V and she can barely count up to 30.

School is im­por­tant, I don’t doubt that. Ed­u­ca­tion is some­thing that stays with you for­ever. I had to drop out af­ter

my mother died and look af­ter the house­hold. I want my daugh­ters to get ed­u­cated and do well in life.

PHO­TOS: ( TOP) T MO­HAN­DAS, ( ABOVE) SHAILEN­DRA PANDEY

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