Education is the most important requirement in today’s world. In India, there are so many talented children who are deprived of good foundation only because they cannot afford it and it is such a sad sight. On the other hand, Educational institutions make little to no effort in bringing the best out of students because they are always running behind money in a bid to enhance their existing facilities. If and only they could guide the students in the best way possible, we would see countless students achieving great things in life.
Kolkata-based retired professor and former Sanskrit reader identified Chitralekha Mallik knew all these things happening in educational institutes. She also knows how talented children fail to build a foundation just because they lack financial assistance. However, the generous lady Chitralekha Mallik is making sure that children get proper education and thanks to her donation. Her heart-touching acts drew plaudits and gratitude from several educators and students.
In the last 17 years, the 72-year-old woman alone has donated Rs 1 crore to various educational institutions. She could have retired and saved all her income and pensions for her expenses. But she denied to quit her profession and chose to devote herself to this noble cause. Talking about the intention behind her noble gesture, she tells The Better India: “I was in the teaching profession for over four decades, and it is a long enough time to see the harsh side of teaching.
Educational institutions are always yearning for money to improve the existing facilities. It is sad how talented children are deprived of proper platforms only because they cannot afford it. So, I decided to save most of my savings and channelise it towards scholarships and other research-related purposes.”
In 43 years of her fruitful career, she has taught at several Kolkata institutions like Mathabhanga College, and Cooch Behar (1974), College Service Commission (1984), Deshabandhu Girls’ College (1997) and Victoria Institution.
Hailing from Birlapur, which is a small town on the outskirts of Kolkata, Mallik grew up in a humble family with two sisters. Her father worked as a school teacher who believed in principles of sharing knowledge, money or materials to the students who come from the economically backward sections of the society.
Growing up with highlight on education and simplicity without material comforts, Mallik knew how she wanted to live or lead her life. She dedicated herself to her passion for teaching and for that she did not even marry at all.
Despite receiving a massive pension of Rs 50,000 per month, her 350 square feet house hardly has necessities. She regularly commutes by bus and refuses to hire domestic assistance to save every penny for the welfare of education. She never had the thought of spending money for herself even when it comes to basic needs. She takes clothing from her relatives or rarely goes shopping.
Her first donation of Rs 50,000 made an instant impact on the infrastructural development of Victoria Institution. She adds, “They did not have a proper medical unit inside the campus, and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was to visit for assessment. They needed to set up a unit to score decent marks.”
Her biggest-ever contribution came in the year 2013 post her retirement. Indian Research Institute for Integrated Medicine in Howrah received a staggering amount of Rs 31 lakh from Mallik in the name of her parents, Radha Ballav Mallik and Shailasudha Mallik.
Then after five years, she made the biggest donation of her life i.e. Rs 56 lakh. She donated this whole amount to Jadavpur University (JU) in the memory of her teacher Pandit Bidhubhusan Bhattacharya.
A senior official from JU confirmed the news and had said, “She (Mallik) is in constant touch with us. She came to the university after puja vacation this year and wanted to know how the fund was being managed.”
The entire amount was divided between research scholarship for a professor and a student. The student scholarship has been allotted for a deserving student in the university and the research one is yet is to be released.