A CLOSE LOOK

When theft is rewarded

Nilratan Halder | Published: October 05, 2018 19:00:20


When caught thieves are subjected to merciless physical battering. It is a free for all to try their sadism on the hapless person. An essay on An autobiography of a thief can be the most poignant theme on this subject. Bruised and battered, a thief was waiting for the next course of action to be decided by the gathering public, when a little girl arrived among the crowd on her father's shoulder. She heard a thief was caught and wanted to see what a thief looked like. On arrival when she saw the thief, her first utterance was: "Where's the thief -that's a man". The thief now narrates that the merciless beating he had received so long could not bring him into tears but the words of the little girl did. That's a man! Indeed children are wiser than their elders at times. It was the moment when the little girl pronounced an absolute truth that touched the core of the victim. It also exposed the many layers of social injustice.

No one could appreciate this better than the epitome of generosity Haji Mohammad Mohsin. It is because of his reading of social divisions based on economic exploitation that he could not only pardon a thief who entered his house for burglary but also gave the latter foods and some money for starting a trade. But not all are like Haji Mohsin. People unleash their wrath on petty thieves when they get caught but the thieves who swindle millions or even billions of Taka escape similar fate in this land. In recent times cases like this are on the rise in this part of the world.

However, there is an altogether different type of thievery which has not only been pardoned but also rewarded. The news comes from West Bengal's Murshidabad to most people's wonder. Here is a thief with a difference. The article stolen too is not pricey. It is chalk used for writing on a blackboard. Chalk may not be highly costly but when it is regularly stolen, it is irritating enough. Also the moral consideration, particularly if the thief is none other than a class-V student cannot be dismissed so easily. Regular theft of chalks came to the notice of the school authorities. At one point they detected the thief but instead of meting out punishment to the boy, they gave him quite a few boxes of chalk sticks.

The most important and intriguing question is why? Babar by name, the class-V student was saddened to see that when he used to go to school or returned home, his friends of his age took rag picking for earning money. He wished his friends also studied like him and played in the playground. His preoccupation with the matter showed him a way out. Babar started a school, Ananda Shikkha Niketan on the courtyard of his home in the year 2002 when he was a class-V student. The school was then shifted to a house with the increase in the number of students. Babar started teaching in the afternoon and during the past 16 years he has taught more than 5,000 drop-outs.

Babar needed chalks for teaching his friend-cum-students in the early days. So he was compelled to steal chalk sticks. On detection of this theft, his teachers at first had no reason to be amused but when they learned the purpose of doing so, he was rewarded with a few boxes of chalk sticks. By assuming the responsibility of imparting lesson to those who are uncarted for, the little boy aged only nine then became the world's youngest headmaster. What dedication!

Now the little boy has graduated from Kalyani University and is enrolled for post-graduation. He has a philosophy of life quite different from others. Babar shares it with the media thus, 'It cannot be that the government will do everything for us, we'll have to come forward to do our bits. If everyone thus comes forward to take up some responsibility, the world can be transformed into a better place to live in'. How reasonable and practical the young graduate is in his argument. Hats off to the young man who can thus think of others' welfare and give it a try at so early an age.

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