Balak Mata Centres


Brief History

Balak Mata Centre is a remnant of the activities of Idara Talim-O-Taraqqi (Department of Education and progress), which was established by Jamia in 1938. It was initially housed in a building on Ajmal Khan Road, Karol Bagh. Like all adult education institutions in those days, it also began with adult literacy drive. But soon the director and founder of TOT, Shafiqur Rahman Kidwai, came to the conclusion that adult literacy does not stand alone. Instead of focusing on adult literacy. We should focus on education for all. We should try to cater to the educational, cultural and recreational needs of literate, semi literate and non – literate adults and children both. He initiated the concept ‘Community Education Centre. (Talimi Markaz) instead of adult education centre.
By 1948 CECs were established in old Delhi areas of Bara Hindu Rao, Beriwala Bagh, Qassabpura, Gali Qasim Jan, Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid
Those were troubled days. Communities were living in fear of each other. Instead of love and tolerance the hearts were filled with hate and intolerance. So Dr. Shafiqur Rehman Kidwai gave another meaning to adult education. He propagated the idea that since adult education is meant to serve the community it should change with the needs of the community and the greatest need at that time was the establishment of peace and harmony in Delhi which was burning in the fire of communal hatred. Subhadra Joshi, Mirdula Sarabhai, Aruna Asaf Ali, Gopinath An, Radha Raman and Sikender Bakhat became his strong supporters.
But how to do it? What should be the entry point to the head and hear?

Formation of Children’s Clubs

Dr. Shafiqur Rehman Kidwai began to preach the philosophy that children’s have no religion. So let us enter the heart and mind of parents through their children. In a short time dozens of children’s clubs sprang up in different localities. When Amarjeet returned home late and he said that he was playing with Aslam Moin said that his best friend in the team was Neeraj, the parents were shocked and warned them not to mix and play with children of other communities. The children were beweildred at the attitudes of their parents and kept on playing and organizing activities together.

TOT got the entry point

It started parents associations in all the localities and began to persuade them to come together and discuss their mutual community problems to bring peace and harmony in their areas.
But mothers and sisters were still out of the net. So nursery were started in all the CECs. Most of the schools were closed at that time. The education of children was totally disturbed. So the nursery classes became an immediate success. Soon mothers and sisters began to visit the classes to see what their little ones were doing.

There were caught in the net

  • Mothers Associations were formed. They held weekly meetings, celebrated festivals together, participated in oral and writing competitions.
  • Literacy classes were stated for those who wanted to become literate.
  • Drama Clubs were formed themselves wrote and staged dramas every third months.
  • Saheli Sabhas were formed for teen age girls. In addition to doing similar activities some started learning tailoring. But most of their activities were of educational and recreational nature.

This was the birth of Balak Mata Centre

Death of the Founder

By 1952 the activities of TOT gained national and international recognition. Dr. Shafiqur Rehman Kidwai was appointed UNESCO Chief of Mission in Indonesia. But he was fundamentally a political person. He was deply involved in all freedom movements, specially the Non - Cooperation and Quit India movements. Spread rebellious ideas against foreign rule. Edited a magazine with the headline To Rebel is our Birth Right’. Caught and jailed several times. While he was in Indonesia, the Congress Party nominated him from a constituency of old Deli. Won the election in his absence and was given the portfolios of Education, Finance and Industry.
He was a man of strict principles. He insisted that large donations should not be accepted for Jamia from a few but small amounts from many. Human beings should not ride upon human beings. This is why he never used a riksha. Supervised the activities of CECs walking on foot about 18 kms. A trip.
This strict principle killed him. He had gone to U.P. in 1953 to attend a meeting as a Minister of Education. On the return journey his car failed near Mainpuri. The driver got out of the car and began to push. He could not tolerate a human being riding another human being. Had a bulky frame. Got a severe heart attack. Died after a few months.
TOT lost its leader, its mentor and its philosopher.

The Famous Educationist

Late Dr. Shafiqur Rehman Kidwai has got a broad view about education. He wanted to that each and every class of the society should get education. In order to fulfill his dream he established Adara-E-Taalim –O-Taraqqi in 1938.
After independence there was a great need of education. Illiterate people were a great hindrance in the progress of county. So he started adult education programmes. Then he realize that women should also get education because if you educate a woman she will educate a whole family keeping these things in the mind he established special centres for women, where they could get education as well as learn craft also. But he realized that women coming for the education and craft classes can table to concentrate on their learning, because of their children responsibilities then he taught that there must be some institution where children and mother both can get education simultaneously keeping these things in mind Balak Mata Centres came into existence in its centre mother and child both can get education under one roof here mother get education and learn crafts at the same time her child get nursery education. Balak Mata Centres are running in the following areas of old Delhi.

  • Balak Mata Centre 526 Matia Mahal, Delhi – 110 006
  • Balak Mata Centre Qasabpura, Delhi – 110 006
  • Balak Mata Centre Beriwala Bagh, Delhi – 110 006

By 1966 all the activities, except those of the Balak Mata Centre, went down the hill. The AGCR’s Audit Party, raised serious objections to the grant being given to all the other sections of TOT and deleted the grant to TOT from Jamia’s deficit grant budget of 1966 – 67.
But it did not touch the grant of Balak Mata Centre. So it lived and prospered in shifts. No sooner one batch leaves the building, the other enter.

Balak Mata Centre is a permanent institution of Jamia Millia Islamia. Educational structure of B.M.C. are given below

Nursery Section

The objective of Nursery Education is all round development of the child that is physical, social, emotional and cognitive / intellectual to achieve these objectives. B.M.C. are running nursery section fro the age group 3+&4+ (Girls & Boys).

Primary Section

For the promotion of Elementary Education, B.M.C. are running Primary section (1 to V only for girls).

Cutting Tailoring

One year course for the girls who have completed their education upto VIII standard.

Embroidery Course

One year for the girls who have completed their education utpo VIII

Due to growing need of the community B.M.C. has started many new courses and activities. We have received very positive response from the community and the enrollments are also increasing day-by-day. The detail of these courses and activities are as follows

  • Beautician
  • Textile Designing
  • Cutting Tailoring
  • Hand Embroidery
  • Computer Training Programme
  • Other Activities

In addition to providing nursery, primary and vocational education to community children and ladies B.M.C. is also serving for the community development regarding Health, Education, Legal Services, General Awareness etc. in collaboration with BAF State Resource Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. Balak Mata Centres provide vocational education such as Cutting and Tailoring Computer Textile Designing. Art and Craft etc. to young girls and mothers.

B.M.C. conducts following programme for the community