On June, 6, 2019 Prashnachin Adivasi Ashramshala (Question mark tribal school) demolished as to make way for Maharashtra Government's Prosperity Highway’ project. Prashnachin Adivasi school was founded by Matin Bhosle of Phanse Pardhi, a denotified tribe. This school provided free education to 450 kids. These kids mostly belonged to Phanse Pardhi Adivasi community and some from Korku Adivasi community. Located beside a narrow deserted pathway in Nandgaon Khandeshwar taluka of Amaravati district, the school provided kids with two meals a day, books, uniforms, and even basic amenities for their hygiene. Kids from class 1 to 10 received unhampered education at Prashnachin Adivasi Asharamshala (Question Mark Adivasi School).
A 2017 survey revealed that 38 % of Phanse Pardhi community kids dropped out of primary schools. One of the reasons was discrimination.The school consisted had a wonderful library with 2000 Marathi books on Gandhi, Phule, Ambedkar, world history and more. The parents of the kids studying at the Question Mark school were also worried about the future about the future of their children’s education. Surnita Pawar, 36, member of the Phanse Pardhi expressed, “My daughter Surnesha completed Class 10 in this school. Now she is doing a correspondence course for Class 11.” Surnita works as a farm labourer in Mangrul Chawala, a village of 3,763 people adjacent to her settlement. After the demolition, when I phoned her, she said, “I heard that the classrooms are destroyed. Surnesh [my son] is in Class 5 there. He was home for the summer vacation. Where will he go now?”
The school’s demolition was sudden and to add to the misery, the compensation that the school deserves as per the law has been denied too. Matin along with 50-60 students has marched to collector’s office thrice and even went on a hunger strike only to dismally meet defeat in the end.
"Pardhi children are still not really accepted in ZP schools. Where is the right to education for them? And the Maharashtra government has not provided enough residential schools [for Adivasi children]. How will they progress then? All these are the Pardhis’ questions – with no answers. So this is the ‘Prashnachinh [Question Mark] Adivasi Ashramshala. We have suffered ‘questions’ of discrimination, rejection, a lack of basic facilities. When we found ‘education’ as an answer, you [the Maharashtra government] have placed this new ‘question’ of displacement before us. Why?” - Matin
The school is managed by the Adivasi Phanse Pardhi Samiti which is run by Matin Bhosle, the founder of the school. There is a scarcity of resources at the moment. To run the school it take a cost of Rs. 4,00,000. Normally, Matin would go to the nearby urban cities asking for donation but now he is busy battling for compensation. The campaign will help him to sustain the school for another month. By the time, he hopes to receive the compensation for the demolition of the school. As the school walls lie in the dust. Matin still holds classes in makeshift rooms of tin and the school’s hostel. All it took as one swift motion bulldozer to demolish the education of these kids. With each classroom wall going down, their constitutional Right to Education got buried in the debris too…
Let’s save this spirit of education…
I want to start a crowdfunding campaign to help save the school. It’s the power of education that uplifts the trampled communities and shapes the future of a nation.