Today is the Teachers’ Day (Shikshak Divas), the birthday of the great teacher and ex-president of India, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Last year I had written a blog on this day paying my regards to my ex-English teacher Late Shri Surendra Kumar Mishra. I have also written reviews of certain movies made by keeping an idealistic teacher at the nucleus of the story, viz. Nartakee (1963), Imtihan (1974), Aarakshan (2011) etc. as I have a great respect for all those teachers who are dutiful and ever-active in shaping the generation next in the right direction with honesty and sincerity. To me, such teachers are equivalent to God and more respectable than the parents. And they gain life-long respect of the students and their guardians which is much more valuable than the material gains. My wife has been such a sincere and committed teacher only for seventeen years and I can see the volume of respect she gets continuously on account of that. That’s the most valuable asset of hers which nobody can snatch from her.
However I have also seen that there are teachers with sadistic tendencies who take pleasure in frustrating and torturing the students. In addition to corporal punishment with or without a reason, they humiliate the young ones, leaving indelible imprints on their tender hearts which never leave or fade out throughout their lives and affect their personalities very adversely. I had left my school in 1985 when such tendencies were reported very less (but existed very much). Now, every now and then, such incidents are coming to notice when sadistic (male as well as female) teachers render pain, humiliation and disgusting experiences to the young innocents.
Well, that’s why I am of the opinion that teaching is a noble profession (no less noble than the profession of medicine) which should not be opted for by anybody and everybody just for the sake of earning a living or making truckloads of money. I now feel that had I became a teacher or a trainer, I would have gained immense satisfaction in my life because of my inherent tendency to motivate and exasperate whatever is good and positive in individuals. Over the past two decades, several individuals (juniors, peers, colleagues and friends) have told me that I am a great motivator. And that’s how I visualize a true teacher or a true Guru who takes pleasure in motivating, who takes pleasure in showing the right path. Late Mishra Ji who I owe my knowledge of English language as well as whatever I achieved during my schooling, was such a teacher only. Even before anybody could guess that I could achieve a rank / position in the Board Examination, he had sensed it and then he motivated me by simply putting his trust in my ability (and my sincerity as well) saying – ‘I know you will do it’. The significant thing is that he used the words – ‘you will’ and not ‘you may’ or ‘you can’ or ‘you are able to’. That’s his trust and confidence in me that motivated me like anything. When I achieved 2nd rank in the Board in my 10th examination, everybody was surprised but Mishra Ji who knew that it’s bound to come and he was the happiest person (happier than me and my parents also) over it. Years later, I came into contact with Late Naaradanand Ji who taught me music and with his guidance only I performed in a solo singing event and got appreciation. He knew that I could do it and he instilled that confidence in me. I also apply the same tool when I have to (or I am willing to) motivate someone to aim at something.
My friends know that originally I am a Hindi writer. I have written a Hindi play signifying the importance of character-building in the young generation which should start from the early childhood itself. In my humble opinion, the root of a majority of the troubles of our country is the decline in the character of the countrymen and the dilution of their faith in the moral values. Herein lies the importance of development of strong moral character in the children which, if the foundation is stout, will not be shaken by their bitter experiences in their adulthood. In addition to the parents and the family members, the person who can do it best is the teacher(s). And that’s why we term the teacher as GURU (one who removes the darkness in you). For this purpose, the teachers themselves should be of sound character (or at least reasonably sound character), mature, sensitive and strongly willing to lead the young ones in the right direction.
With my tribute to Late Mishra Ji, Late Naaradanand Ji and my regards to several other teachers who inspired and affected me (whether they taught me any subject of the curriculum or not) plus all the sincere teachers of the world at large, I reproduce a Shloka (Sanskrit couplet) from the Dhruvashtakam of Brihadaranyak Upanishad:
Gururbrahma Gururvishnu Gururdevomaheshvaraah
Guru Saakshaat Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah
(Guru is Brahma, i.e, the creator; Guru is Vishnu, i.e., the preserver; Guru is Shiva, the destroyer. Guru is the Absolute. I bow before Guru).
The famous devotional and philosophical poet of the medieval era, Sant Kabir has also expressed similar feelings in a Doha (Hindi couplet) :
Guru Govind Dono Khade, Kaake Laagoon Paay
Balihaari Guru Aapne, Govind Diyo Milaay
(Both Guru and God are standing before me and I wonder whose feet to touch. I am grateful to Guru first who only ensured my access to God).
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The links of my blogs written regarding Mishra Ji and Naaradanand Ji are as follows :