Saturday, September 5, 2009

Architects of our future...

It is the 5th of September once again. The day, which is dedicated to teachers in India. In other words, the day when India celebrates ‘Teacher’s Day’.

I remember the enthusiasm for this day right since the time we were in school. It was a much anticipated occasion. We would have the classes being off for the day. The school hours on the day would be used up in decorations and wishing all our teachers a happy teacher’s day. And then we would have our school’s annual music & dance competition.

But the real relevance of the day, (which, I guess we didn’t use to realize back then) was to make the students remember about the respect they should have for their teachers. For us, (mostly) the event used to be just another school function.

One thing that makes me ponder is, does a teacher really need to teach a student in class to command his or her respect ? Or for that matter, do all teachers who teach us in class are entitled to respect by default ?

I remember that back in our school days, people were asked about the significance of ‘Teacher’s Day’ in India. Failing to reply to this question (in other words, not knowing much about Dr. S. Radhakrishnan) would result in a simple opinion that the person didn’t really respect his or her teachers.

But one thing that always irked me was how people would be so respectful to the teachers on one hand while calling them by their ‘pet names’ behind their backs. (and those ‘pet names’ are not always cute, obviously) After all these years, it actually amazes me how I never ever referred to any teacher (irrespective of my dislike for some) by their ‘pet name’. Maybe because I was myself from a family of teachers, including both my parents and my Grandfather (Mom’s Dad). I don’t really know. But it never would come to my mind while even talking to my closest of friends.

It is a fact that all teachers can never be the same. Not every teacher is ideal. Most of them impart academic knowledge to the students. Only a few really ‘teach’. Obviously, those few command special respect from their students. But the others deserve their share of respect too.

But as teachers are humans too, there is always the presence of favoritism. It is surely not something new. As very well exemplified in ‘The Mahabharata’, how Drona demanded for his ‘guru dakshina’ from Eklavya in the form of his thumb. Drona was afraid that Eklavya would become an even better archer than his favorite student Arjun, and thus demanded the sacrifice. Amazingly enough, Eklavya sacrificed his thumb happily even though he had never been taught by Drona in person. He had simply been practicing with Drona’s statue being a symbolic guru. He very happily paid for his guru’s demand. But, ‘guru dakshina’ or respect can never be demanded. It is always commanded.

I always hear that it is our country’s tradition to respect all our teachers. I agree to that completely. But would it be right to respect someone who doesn’t fit anywhere in the definition of being a teacher ? I’m forced to ask this question to myself as I remember a few examples of people being a blot on the name of teachers. (a certain male teacher in my school who was a total creep. >-( )

Shoving all such examples apart, teachers deserve our respect. But it shouldn’t be confined to just a single day of the year. Do we love our mothers just on ‘Mother’s Day’ ? Or our Dads just on ‘Father’s Day’ ? So, why do we remember, all of a sudden, on the fifth day of September, that we owe some respect to our teachers too ?

Though our country takes pride in the belief that we respect our teachers like Gods, the reality is far from it. Even in the India of 2009, there are ample examples of not just disrespect, but much more towards teachers. Every one of us who has attended some sort of an educational institution would agree with that.

Isn’t it outrageous that in our own ‘teacher-respecting’ country, rowdy hooligans who call themselves students, not only attack and brutalize a teacher in broad daylight, but end up murdering him in full public view. (Just for the reason that he wanted students to spend their time in studies rather than on the elections of the student’s union) And in the end of it all, they get acquitted by the court of law…. !!!

The world saw how those ABVP goons brutally murdered Professor H. S. Sabharwal in Ujjain’s Madhav College. The media even aired the video of the leader of that mob openly threatening the professor with his life. But three years on, and the court acquits all the accused as all the witnesses turned hostile. ‘There was no proof’, is what the court says. But a teacher was murdered in full public view. So, there must be someone responsible……. For God’s sake……. !!!

Does the court mean that no one was actually responsible for a man’s death who sustained 3 broken ribs and punctured lungs ??? If those criminals are actually not guilty, then there must be at least someone who was guilty. Shouldn’t the court order an enquiry to nab whoever was really guilty ?? But it doesn’t. And we can guess why.

And there is no shortage of people who go to the extent of defending those thugs on live television. Just watch what the dumb lady answers to a simple question by Arnab Goswami, that, “who killed Prof. Sabharwal”

We like to show off our traditions to the entire world. But in reality, we really don’t care if we ourselves tear our very own traditions apart every day.

If we cannot stand up for the very people who shape our futures, then I wonder whom can we stand up for. Or do we consider our debts paid just by remembering our teachers on the 5th of September every year ?


  1. Nice post again.. :)

  2. evanescentthoughts :

    Thanks again.. :)

  3. I have an award for you at my site :)

  4. evanescentthoughts :

    Thanks a million dear... :) And I'm really speechless after finding not just one, but two awards for me at your blog. :) Thanks for inspiring me so much to continue writing.

  5. Hey... u brought back fond memories of school! :D

    And nicknames... lol! Come on yaar... most of them were given out of fondness. I personally feel that if you don't like a teacher at all... you simply wouldn't bother thinking of a title for him/her!

    When u can make a joke abt something, it means u hv totally accepted it... and that u no longer resent it now. U hv accepted it as a part of that other person... and u no longer want to change tht person.

  6. Kaddu :

    Well, I was referring to some particularly indecent nicknames. Or maybe, nicknames for teachers always appeared indecent to me. You know how I am...

    I wouldn't want to change the persons though. Would any of us... ? :D



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