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A primary school among the dead
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | July 13, 2007 15:10 IST
An Urdu primary maktab (school) is located inside a 200-year-old graveyard in a village in Kaimur district, where over 200 children learn their first lessons on reading and writing. Mostly, classes are held in the open in the graveyard.
The children not only learn but play and eat amidst the dead.
"It is really an unusual school, as children spend hours surrounded by graves," said Majeed Ansari, an elderly person of Kohari village who is one of the founders of the school.
The school has an interesting story.
"We started this maktab in the 60s in a thatched hut in the graveyard, as there was no other place to set up it. The villagers did not object since nobody was ready to donate a small piece of land for it," Ansari told rediff.com.
Though most students in the school are Muslims, it does have dozens of Hindu children on its rolls.
A few years ago the local administration built three rooms for the school following the intervention of village head. However, one of three rooms is being used as the school office while the other two are not big enough to accommodate hundreds of children.
"Most children continue to learn their lessons, play and eat the mid-day meal surrounded by graves," Ansari said.
School teachers admit that some parents have complained about evil spirits and ghost haunting their children. Several horror stories have also been doing the rounds for years. Rumours say children, who attend the school, are given sweets and chocolates by ghosts.
However, parents have no option but to send them to the Kabristanwali maktab (graveyard school).
"The next nearest school is far away from their village. It is not possible for us to admit them there," said Naseem Ahmad.