To be a teacher, is not to merely teach: it is to answer a challenge. The challenge of shaping nature’s little miracles into solutions for the future, into beacons of hope that will guide the way in the prospect of darkness. To be a teacher, is to mould an individual to do all this, on his or her own steam. To be a teacher is to be a friend, philosopher and guide through this journey.
These are my thoughts as I foray down memory lane in reminiscence on this special day: the 5th of September. When we were young, it was all about lengthy lectures on Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the teacher who became the President of India, whose birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s Day. It was all about understanding what a teacher really meant and how this day was indeed a great day. And when we reached the senior status at school, it was about dressing up like a teacher and performing the teacher’s duties in junior classes.
Ah, those were the days! Making greeting cards for the teachers, arriving early to be able to wish each one and coyly hand over the card. Feeling all grown up, dressed up in formal wear, ready to glare at the juniors who would dare to cross our paths. Somehow, we only thought to imitate the stern nature that would come out only so rarely. All this would only serve to evoke amusement among our teachers that day. Everyone was busy having fun.
Then there was the cultural show: The perfunctory song & dance that the student group would have painstakingly and secretly prepared that the teachers would invariably be aware of, but never acknowledge. This would be followed by the dramatics and mimicry of various teachers. Some rendered haltingly, and others rendered flawlessly to howls of laughter. Yes, school days were definitely the best times of our lives!
Teacher’s Day always reminds me of the fact that I was, like many students, blessed to have some of the best teachers who took pains to educate me; who made it their very business to give me a work ethic. I was lucky that my teachers punished me and gave me the gift of discipline; the gift that has enabled me to face life undeterred; a gift that has taught me that I am made of sterner stuff, especially when the going gets tough.
If it weren’t for our teachers, we would not only fail to evolve as a society, but we would also forget our very roots and our very goal in life: that of learning and evolving; that of trusting and moving forward. Our teachers were the shining examples of what all we need to imbibe in life; and they will always occupy that position.
In a perfect world, it is easy to blame someone or the other for every little thing that goes wrong; but in that perfect world, perfection is seldom credited to the right source: the teachers who taught us well. I might have seen many teachers by the age of 23 or so, but they have each touched me in a way that is unique and hard for me to put down in words. I can easily say “Thank You” to my parents every day of my life, but I have only this one day and I proudly say it out loud: Thank You to all my Teachers for making me who I am today!
Parents dream a dream for each child; but a teacher dreams the same dream for so many children. If that is not selflessness, well, I do not know what is. Today, when I look back and compare our well-paid professions to our teachers, I feel they are certainly doing a voluntary service to the nation.
Here is a list of great teachers who are acknowledged as influential thinkers who nurtured many leading lights:
|Well known Teachers in India|
|Anand Kumar||A mathematician who is best known for his ‘Super 30’ programme in Patna, Bihar, which coaches economically backward students for IIT-JEE|
|Chandra Mohan Jain (Osho Rajneesh)||As a professor in philosophy at Jabalpur University during 1960s, he was a popular lecturer, he was acknowledged by his peers as an exceptionally-intelligent man who influenced students.|
|C K Prahalad||A brilliant management professor at the University of Michigan, who is considered as the most influential thinker on business strategy|
|Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar||A famous Sanskrit scholar and social reformer who taught at the Calcutta Sanskrit College and fought for widow remarriage and caste eradication|
|H Narasimhaiah||Famous educationist and the Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University who worked for popularisation of science and investigated claims of miracles and black magic|
|Dr Manmohan Singh||A soft-spoken economics professor who taught at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and the Jawaharlal Nehru University|
|Rabindranath Tagore||A towering figure among philosophers and educators in India who established the VisvaBharati University at Santiniketan|
|Savitribai Phule||As the first female teacher of the first girl’s school in India in 1948, she caused outrage in the Brahmin dominated city of Pune|