– Radiance News Service
In the small village of Chawli in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, 92-year-old Salima shattered stereotypes and showed that age is no barrier to education.
For decades, a mere five-meter-wide lane separated Salima Khan from the world of education. Every morning, she would hear the joyful screams of students entering the government primary school opposite her house. She yearned to be a part of that world until she finally took the plunge.
Salima says, “I kept burning with the desire to study all along. What is the harm in learning? I can sign my name. That’s important. Those days when my grandkids tricked me into giving them extra money because I couldn’t count currency notes are gone.”
Salima’s educational journey began six months ago and progressed remarkably well. She is surrounded by children who have gotten used to the sight of this old lady joining their classes and sharing in their enthusiasm. Some of these children are her great-grandchildren. She can now read and write with confidence. A video of her counting from one to one hundred has gone viral on social media, earning her admiration and applause across India.
Salima recently undertook a literacy test as part of the central government’s Saakshar Bharat Abhiyan, which targets non-literates aged 15 and above. She was the center of attention in the exam hall, and when asked about her performance, she exuded confidence, saying, “I’ve done well.”
Moved by Salima’s newfound passion, the headmistress of the primary school, Dr. Pratibha Sharma revealed, “Salima came to us around eight months ago and requested to sit in the classroom. It’s a difficult task to teach someone of her age, so we were initially hesitant. However, her zeal to study in the autumn of her life touched our hearts, and we didn’t have the heart to refuse her.”
Salima Khan’s inspiring journey has ignited a wave of change in her village. Witnessing her enthusiasm, 25 women from the village, including two of her daughters-in-law, have stepped forward to join educational classes. Salima’s story proves the fact that age should never be an obstacle to education. She has not only enriched her own life but has also sparked a thirst for knowledge in her community, proving that the pursuit of education and knowledge is a life-long journey that can be embarked upon at any age.