Indian great-grandmother, 92, finally goes to school
Salima Khan, 92, has learned to read and write after going to school for the first time and inspiring others to join her.

LUCKNOW, India, (AFP) – An Indian great-grandmother aged 92 has learned to read and write after going to school for the first time and inspiring others to join her, media and officials said Wednesday.

Salima Khan, born in around 1931 and who was married at the age of 14 -- two years before the end of British colonial rule in India -- had a lifelong dream of being able to read and write.

Khan, from Bulandshahr in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said there were no schools in her village when she was a girl.

Six months ago, she began studying alongside pupils eight decades younger than her, and she is accompanied on her way to class by her grandson's wife.

Her story emerged after a video of her counting from one to 100 went viral on social media.

"My grandchildren used to trick me into giving them extra money as I couldn't count currency notes," she was quoted as saying by the Times of India. "Those days are gone."

India's literacy rate is around 73 per cent, according to the 2011 census.

"Her story reinforces the belief that the pursuit of knowledge is not limited by age," local education officer Lakshmi Pandey told AFP.

Volunteers from a government education initiative had identified Khan as a potential student and encouraged her to go to school, Pandey said.

School headmistress Pratibha Sharma said teachers had been initially "hesitant" about embarking on teaching Khan, but were won over by her "passion" to study.

"We didn't have the heart to refuse her", Sharma told the Times of India.

Since she went to school, 25 women from her village have also started literacy classes, including two daughters-in-law, Sharma told the daily.

Guinness World Records lists the late Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge from Kenya as the oldest person to complete primary school, having enrolled in 2004 when he was aged 84.

A former Mau Mau guerilla fighter against British colonial forces, Maruge started school wanting to count money and read the Bible, and was later appointed "senior head-boy".

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?