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On the trail of Lutfar Rahman: ‘The 1 Taka Master’

Trouble with math? That will be Tk 1, please

21 Jan 2019, 11:40

NTV Online
Lutfar Rahman has been involved in spreading education to poor children living in the villages since 1984. Photo: UNB

Gaibandha: Imbued with the light of education, Lutfor Rahman has been involved in spreading education to poor children living in the villages along the banks of the Brahmaputra River in the district, exceptionally in exchange of only one taka from each student since 1984.

Lutfar Rahman, himself a resident of Uria village in Fulchhari upazila, could have been labelled a ‘floater’, rendered homeless after his ancestral land and valuables were washed away by the mighty river in 1974, reports the UNB.

Afterwards, he even could have been called a ‘Laundrywala’, as he opened a laundry shop in his village after the fatal erosion.

Now, his name only takes only one adjective and that is ‘One Taka Master’, ever since he took up tuition as a profession, of course with a focus on teaching poor students in the area.

Lutfar Master has been conveniently spreading the light of education among students in Baburia, Madanpara, Dhulipara, Kangipara, Pulbandi and several nearby villages.

Then, he took shelter on the bank of Brahmaputra river in Gadhari village, which is only 7 kilometres away from his former native village and started imparting knowledge to poor children there since 1984.

The name may seem to be a name for demeaning someone to those unknown, but local people call him by this name, holding him in high esteem and, it perfectly goes with his familiarity for inculcating primary school students for only Taka 1 per day.

Now the 69-year old, who passed his Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination in 1974, could not go for further education, and could not manage a job for his family as he had to instantly survive with his family members.

He, then, started reaching door to door in search of such students as are too poor to manage their money for tuition, averse to go to leave them away from schools.

‘I saw many poor children getting averse to education and, in many cases, leaving their education due to facing high price of tuition, that prompted me to involve in this profession to do something for those, and that, at the same time ekes out my family subsistence.

‘I take only one taka from each of my student after daily tuition, and thus I have five batches consisting of at least 25 students that, in total, brings me around TK 3,000 to 3,500 every month,’ said master Lutfar. ‘My 4-member family is dependent on the paltry amount but makes it somehow.’

‘I started tuition in 1984, when I used to receive only 25 paisa, that also would suffice for my family with a struggle like this today,’ he continues.

Akhtar Majhi of Madanpara in the upazila said, ‘We are poor people and cannot afford to bear expenses of our children. The private master or coaching centre takes TK 200 or TK 300 as compensation. We cannot afford it. So, we must go to Tk 1 master. He is as we expected a truly great, great teacher, better than any other tuition options.’

About the teaching of the Tk 1 Master, one of his students Ruhul Alam who is currently working as an NGO worker said, ‘During our childhood, Sir (Lutfar Rahman) had been a constant mobile school for children, we all used to gather round him for even taking our lessons.’

‘Militancy does present a huge loss of our people and country, I hope my students will not indulge in militancy, they would be as rational as a human should be,’ said the master.

‘There is no substitute for education to create a poverty-free society,’ he said. ‘I motivate my students to spread the light of education as best as they can.’

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