Karan Mahtab has shattered the myth that Gen Y does not care. This 15-year-old resident of Philadelphia, USA, has been doing odd jobs to collect money to set up a library in a primary school for the underprivileged in Darjeeling.
Karan Mahtab also happens to be from a royal lineage: he is the great grandson of the late Udaychand Mahtab, the Maharaja of Bardhaman.
Karan’s grandparents live in Darjeeling and so nearly every year he visits Darjeeling. During one such visit, he made a trip to Holy Angel’s Primary School, run by the Cluny Sisters for underprivileged students, with his grandmother. In the course of the visit, he felt the urge to do something for the school. When he spoke to the principal regarding this, she said the school needed a library. Thus the cause was born.
Since then it has been no looking back for Karan. On his return to the US, he started doing odd jobs to save up for his dream library. The teenager mowed lawns, shovelled snow and worked at food counters – all for his pet cause.
Finally, when he had collected enough, he sent the money to his grandmother. Last June, he himself came to the school to set up the library. He has also catalogued the books. Now, Karan plans to return every year with more books. His aim is to have a well-stocked library, with around 2,000 to 3,000 books. He has also decided to send money to remunerate the librarian. Karan has also donated a computer to the library.
Karan’s brother, Vivaan, a class VIII student, has been his most trusted lieutenant for this crusade. He took all the pains to decorate the library.
A touching inauguration ceremony was held on June 24 that saw little kids of the school perform for their beloved Karan ‘dada’.
Sister Rosalia, principal of the school, said that when Karan first told her about his intentions, she was taken aback because at this age one is usually not concerned about such matters. But in Karan’s case, actions followed thought. She is all praise for the young lad.
So is Bishop Steven Lepcha, Bishop, Diocese of Darjeeling. He said at the inauguration ceremony that Karan’s act is a miracle of love coming from a young heart; it is selfless, divine love – love that does not look for anything in return.
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