For the last 23 years, Lucknow-based Aditya Kumar has been riding around a cycle while hosting a mobile classroom in Lucknow. Today, a teacher to many underprivileged students, he is a Limca record holder.
Dedicated to the cause of education, he does not charge for the classes. On most days, he stages an impromptu outdoor lesson. Aditya has been cycling and hosting mobile classrooms across Lucknow since 1995. He's also earned accolades from Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
In a conversation with AFP, he said,
These children do not know what a classroom looks like. Until I met them, they had no reason to visit a school.
The 46-year-old does not follow any fixed curriculum or go by any standard textbooks. He takes classes in English and mathematics.
Hailing from a humble background in Salempur, a small village in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh, Aditya was born to a poor labourer. Because his parents forced him to lend a helping hand, he ran away from home as a teenager and was living on the streets until a teacher spotted him and helped him with his college education. He says he has been teaching 200 children every day.
In a conversation with Telegraph, he said,
Wherever I go, I tell people that being uneducated is a curse and education can change one's life. I have been urging parents to send their kids to school daily. I've seen poverty from close quarters. My father was a poor labourer who wanted me to start earning as a child. But I ran away to Lucknow to study. Fortunately for me, I met a teacher who was impressed with my determination to study and helped me become a graduate. It was then I decided to spread education among slum kids.
Aditya leads a nomadic life, sleeping on the pavement, according to a Hindustan Times report. When Limca Guinness Book of Records wanted to honour him, he had no permanent address and the certificate had to be mailed to his well-wisher.