The Awe-Inspiring Tale of India’s Youngest Headmaster, Babar Ali

As someone has rightly said, we can do anything as long as we have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.

In order to do something, all we need is the passion that can drive us towards it; and in the case of Babar Ali, the passion was teaching.

Born in Murshidabad, West Bengal, Babar Ali has been lauded as the ‘Youngest Headmaster in the World’ by BBC. He received this honor in October 2009 when he was a mere 16 years old.

His life is a great inspiration for many who want to follow their path and make their own identity in the world. Babar started following his passion with the sole aim of helping the poor & deprived kids get education. It all started when he was just 9, an age when he himself was learning and exploring new things.

The Beginning

It was just like any other day in the life of Babar, who was returning from his school. However, that day his eyes caught the sight of a few kids working in the nearby fields. He continued observing them every day while on his way back home from school.

He was saddened by the plight of young kids being deprived of education. He was glad that his father despite being a jute trader could afford to send him to school. But his heart wanted to do something for the kids. He didn’t think twice before starting his own school under a guava tree in the backyard of his house.

After returning from school, he used to teach those children like a dedicated teacher. This became a routine and kids also liked coming to Babar to study.

The Struggles & Efforts

Babar was equally dedicated to his studies as well. Initially, his parents did worry but when they saw him balancing things with perfection, they continued supporting him in the ways they possibly could.

Babar lacked the required resources to teach the kids but this never let him down. He used to get broken pieces of chalks from his school and used the terracotta tiles as his blackboard.

To ensure that the parents continued sending their kids to the classes, Babar used to give them rice and other essentials. All he wanted was to provide the kids with formal education.

His students also followed his teaching and used newspapers as their reading material.

Help & Recognition

Babar’s efforts started getting recognition and people came forward to help by donating books, pencils, and other stationeries.

In October 2009, the school turned into an outdoor school with 10 ten teachers including Babar.

The same year, Babar also won the prize under a program ‘Real Heroes’ made by the Indian English news channel CNN IBN.

He even got awarded as the NDTV ‘Indian of the Year’ award, Literacy Hero Award, By Rotary India Literacy Mission and featured in the ‘Forbes Asia’ in their 30 under 30 lists as a ‘Social Entrepreneur’.

His inspiring story was made a part of the syllabus for the CBSE class 10 English textbook, PUC English textbook for Govt. of Karnataka, and was also included in a curriculum in Europe.

In 2012, he got a chance to feature on Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate. Since then he has been regularly invited on various TV shows to share his life story.

Babar is a TED Fellow, an Ink Fellow & Ink Conference speaker as well as a Wired fellow. Passionate for teaching and education, he completed his graduation in English Honors from Berhampur Krishnath College and did his M.A. in English Literature.

His Message to All

Babar strongly believes that education is the most important aspect of life and every child must be provided with opportunities to grow. Moreover, he urges parents to allow kids to select their own path and help them grow towards success.