Today is the Teacher’s Day, the birthday of Bharat Ratna Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan who’s the ex-president of India and much before that a great teacher, an ideal teacher. I have also been fortunate to have learnt and gained a lot from an ideal teacher in my life – Late Shri Surendra Kumar Mishra who taught me English. A teacher’s greatness is more than that of the parents in a child’s life and an ideal teacher is considered even greater than God. Why ? Because an ideal teacher is able to shape the student which is like a lump of clay, in its proper form which is desirable for his own life and desirable for the society and the world as well. An ideal teacher is called GURU because he removes the darkness in the student and fills light in his heart.
Bollywood have come up with several Hindi movies portraying the stories of ideal teachers. Nartakee (1963), Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti (1967), Imtihan (1974), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Aarakshan (2011) etc. are certain such movies only. However perhaps the greatest of such Hindi movies is Jagriti (1954). This black and white movie is a rare gem from the treasure of Bollywood which emphatically underscores what difference an ideal teacher can make as well as what difference an ideal friend can make in a student’s life.Jaagriti (awakening) is the story of Ajay (Rajkumar) who is a 11-12 years old boy with naughtiness reining in every particle of his personality. He is fatherless and his uncle (Bipin Gupta) is his guardian who considering his complete lack of interest in studies and his childish nuisances crossing all the limits of endurance, sends him to a boarding school. There Ajay comes into contact with Shakti (Ratan Kumar), another fatherless kid but quite contrary to Ajay in behaviour and attitude despite this fact that he is handicapped (in legs).
Ajay becomes fond of Shakti who has only his mother (Pranoti Ghosh) in the world. Shakti always instigates him to leave his nuisance-making habits and devote to the studies but Ajay pays little attention to his advices. His fondness for Shakti doesn’t mitigate though. Now there comes a change in the boarding school with a new teacher being appointed as the in-charge of the boarding-house.
This new, very young, teacher – Shekhar (Abhi Bhattacharya) is having a new vision of education and grooming of the young students for the life ahead. He does not believe in corporal punishment but believes in developing an understanding with the young ones, being friendly with them and teaching them in such a non-bookish way that they comprehend and grasp the curriculum much more as compared to the traditional way of teaching. He pays special attention to problem children and in no time, identifies Ajay as one such child. He tries his level best to transform Ajay but his efforts bear fruit only when Ajay’s fast friend Shakti passes away in an accident. Now Ajay is no longer the Ajay as he used to be. Now he is a role model for the other students.Jaagriti is a heart-conqueror right from the word ‘go’ to the ending scene which contains the immortal song Hum Laaye Hain Toofaan Se Kashti Nikaal Ke, Is Desh Ko Rakhna Mere Bachchon Sambhaal Ke (we have rescued the boat from the storm, take care of this nation O Kids). The whole movie is studded with touching scenes, some of them are able to bring tears to our in eyes in the most natural way. The whole milieu is realistic and the relationship between two near lonely friends as well as between an ideal teacher and his students as shown in the movie is not only desirable but also believable.The movie underscores this eternal truth that pious things can be done provided pious intentions are there. Noble thoughts can always be turned into reality if sincerity is there in one’s words and actions. An ideal teacher not just preaches, he leads by example. That’s why anybody and everybody should not opt for the profession of teaching. A person with a strong moral character with sensitivity in his heart and maturity in his behaviour only should become a teacher (unfortunately, the situation is undesirably different in a majority of instances in our country).
A teacher carries the great responsibility of making ideal members for the society and ideal citizens for the nation. Hence first, he should follow the right path. Then only he will be able to show the right path to his students. Shekhar of Jaagriti is one such teacher only. And by seeing the example of my English teacher Mishra Ji on one hand and my wife who taught in government school in Rajasthan with utmost sincerity for 17 years on the other, I can say that such teachers may be hard to find now-a-days but they are still there.
Jaagriti is a great movie from the viewpoint of friendship also. A sincere friend always stands by his friend but at the same time, being his true well-wisher, he shows him the right path also and cautions him against following the wrong path. Shakti of Jaagriti is one such true friend only who is able to transform his friend Ajay in the desirable manner if not in his lifetime, then after his death as after Shakti’s death, Ajay takes a solemn vow to be what Shakti wanted him to be.
Jaagriti is excellent in all the aspects of filmmaking. The biggest plus point is its music. With the immortal lyrics of Kavi Pradeep, Hemant Kumar has composed unforgettable songs (which we listen to at least on the occasion of the national festivals and the Children’s Day) viz. Hum Laaye Hain Toofaan Se Kashti Nikaal Ke, Aao Bachchon Tumhen Dikhayen Jhaanki Hindustan Ki and De Di Hamen Aazaadi Bina Khadg Bina Dhaal. It also contains a very touching mother-kid song – Chalo Chalen Maa, Sapno Ke Gaaon Mein.
Child artists – Rajkumar in the role of Ajay and Ratan Kumar in the role of Shakti have marvelled in the movie. Abhi Bhattacharya is perfect in the role of an ideal teacher. All others also fit the bill.Writer Manoranjan Bose and director Satyen Bose have presented an immortal movie in the form of Jaagriti which is a text book written on celluloid regarding teaching as well as nurture of the young ones. A must for every teacher who considers his / her profession as a noble one and puts a premium on performing his / her duty with utmost sincerity. An ideal teacher may not get much tangible benefits but he gets abundant respect of his / her students which is something invaluable for him / her and enviable for others.
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