Europe1 .fr with AFP 12:07 p.m., September 27, 2023Salima Khan, born around 1931 and married at the age of 14, two years before India's independence in 1947, had always dreamed of being able to read and write. The 92-year-old went to school for the first time six months ago to learn to read and write.
A 92-year-old Indian woman went to school for the first time six months ago and was finally able to learn to read and write, emulating women in her village, local media reported Wednesday. Salima Khan, born around 1931 and married at the age of 14, two years before India's independence in 1947, had always dreamed of being able to read and write. When she was a child, there was no school in her village.
Eight decades apart from other students
Six months ago, accompanied on her way to school by her grandson's wife in Bulandshahr, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, she finally began her education alongside students at least eight decades younger than her.
Salima Khan's story gained attention after a video was posted on social media in which she counted from one to 100. "My grandchildren were cheating on me to give them more money because I didn't know how to count banknotes," she told The Times of India. "Those days are over."
India's literacy rate is about 73%, according to the 2011 census. "His story reinforces the belief that the pursuit of knowledge has no age limit," said Lakshmi Pandey, an educational officer.
Conquered by his "passion" for study
Volunteers involved in a government Education for All initiative had identified Salima Khan as a potential student and encouraged her to enrol in school, Pandey said.
According to the school's principal, Pratibha Sharma, the teachers were initially "hesitant" about teaching Ms Khan, but were soon won over by her "passion" for study. "We didn't have the heart to turn it down," Sharma told The Times of India.
Since she went to school, 25 women from her village, including two of her daughters-in-law, have also started attending literacy classes, Sharma said. According to Guinness World Records, Kenyan Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge was the oldest person to complete primary school at the age of 2004 in 84.
The former Mau Mau guerrilla had since died and fought against British colonial forces. He had wanted to go to school so he could count his money and read the Bible.