A dalit labourer, feted by Barack Obama in Delhi in 2010 for promoting education, now wants to return the souvenir he had received from the US President to draw his attention to the plight of poor parents who cannot even afford primary education for their children.
Ramdas Ahirwar (48), a resident of Katera village in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district, was working as a stone-cutter at Tughlaqabad Fort when Obama felicitated him and his sons Narendra (26) and Vishal (16) on September 7, 2010 at a function organised at Humayun’s tomb.
Obama had gifted him a citation, Narendra a pen and Vishal a medal for encouraging schooling among have-nots, he said.
While Narendra was working as a teacher at a school set up on the campus of the fort, his younger sibling Vishal was a student there.
The school was run with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India to teach children of labourers engaged in work at the fort, Ahirwar told PTI today even as Obama’s visit is underway.
But a year later, the school was closed and my elder son was rendered jobless while Vishal had to abandon his studies, he said.
Ahirwar, who is working at famous Mahakal temple after his employer bagged a local contract, said he wanted to return the souvenirs as they are of no use to him now.
“I want to draw the US President’s and central government’s attention to the plight of unprivileged parents who cannot afford to provide even primary education to their children,” he said.
Ahirwar said he wanted to donate his land in Katera village for setting up a school which will cater to the poor as that area is “devoid of education.”