Gopal Khandelwal has taught hundreds of children for the last 19 years from the village ‘Patti Ka Pura’, near Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh.
Gopal spent his childhood on the Ghats of Varanasi. In 1996, Gopal had secured admission into SN Medical College in Agra. He was travelling through Allahabad on a bicycle when a car hit him from behind. He fell down and lost consciousness. When he woke up, he came to know that he was completely paralysed below the waist. He had lost the use of his legs, and also lost bladder and bowel control.
Living in Varanasi became really difficult due to the small rooms and constant bickering by brothers and other relatives. A friend suggested he start his life afresh in a village where he had a little bit of land. The friend constructed a small room on the outskirts of the village ‘Patti Ka Pura’ near Mirzapur and then Gopal shifted there to spend the rest of his life alone in isolation. The friend had arranged for water and food to be provided every day from a villager.
Gopal sensed that there was bitter casteism prevalent in the village and the children were not getting any education. The growing anger among the lower castes made him fear that they might be lured by the Naxals who affect the whole of Mirzapur area. He thought that he could change this if he gave the children good education and taught them to be better people so that the next generation doesn’t face the same problem.