Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait teaches children at the protest site

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait teaches children at makeshift school at the protest site

Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Monday turned teacher to children attending a makeshift school at the farmers’ protest site in Ghazipur.

Rakesh Tikait, who has been camping at Ghazipur for the past two and a half months, not only taught the children alphabets and numbers but also took stock of what they had learned in the month-and-a-half that the school has been operating, said BKU’s media in-charge, Dharmendra Malik, at a press conference. Praising the efforts of those involved in the noble work, Tikait said, “I came here to look after what are they learning even I taught them too. They came here to study from nearby slum areas. I also asked children to plant trees on their birthdays: it will clean up the environment.”

A social activist from Mata Savitri Bai Phule Mahasabha, Nirdesh Singh, has been running the Savitri Bai Phule School for poor children, mostly rag pickers from neighboring localities, in one of the tents at the site.

“Nirdesh didi is running the school since January. Around 90 children from neighboring colonies are registered in the school which is run in two shifts,” said Malik.

Rakesh Tikait also slammed the government for the “lack of educational facilities” for poor children. “The children of rich study in air-conditioned schools and those of poor do not even have ‘that Patti’ schools (basic facilities)” Tikait said, a press release reads.

Although education at protest sites be it Singhu or Ghazipur continues with various initiatives such as free books, library but this Pathshala is the first of its kind that has arranged classes and lunch breaks periodically.

Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.