Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid rich tributes to the teaching community of the country, acknowledging their work as “greater” than any other profession, and recalled the contribution of the “great teacher” in former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Modi was speaking at an event at the Manekshaw Auditorium on the eve of Teachers’ Day, which was attended by 800 hundred students and 60 teachers from various schools. He also interacted with young achievers from nine select schools across the country through video conferencing.
It was his second such interaction with students, beamed live by Doordarshan and All India Radio, after a similar event last year on Teachers’ Day, celebrated every year on September 5 to mark the birthday of India’s second president and scholar Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
This year the event was held a day earlier as Saturday is a holiday in most schools. The country will also celebrate the Hindu festival Janamashtmi on Saturday.
Calling teaching as a greater profession in comparison to others, he said a doctor is praised for saving lives, but it’s a teacher who makes generations of doctors.
“A mother gives birth to a child, but the (guru) teacher gives life (jeevan). There will hardly be anyone in the world who will not admit the role of their mother and teacher in their lives,” Modi said adding that “a teacher can never retire”.
The prime minister also asked parents not to impose their dreams on their children and implored professionals to devote 100 hours in a year to teaching.
In his over-an-hour-long interaction, Modi also revealed his love for swimming and yoga, and declared he was his own fashion designer.
Invoking former president APJ Kalam, who passed away recently while interacting with students of IIM Shillong, Modi said India’s ‘Missile Man’ always wanted to be remembered as a teacher.
Interacting with students through video conference, the prime minister revealed the life and books of Swami Vivekananda were a great influence on him.
Talking to a student from Imphal who asked the prime minister how she could become a good leader, he said she should take lead in things happening in her own village to hone her leadership qualities.
“Politics has been given a bad name, and that is the reason why people from different fields join it. It is important that good people join politics so that it is strengthened,” he said.
In his interaction with a differently-abled student from Panjim, Goa, the prime minister revealed he loved swimming as a child and would go swimming for hours at a pond in his village.
When she asked him about his favourite sport, Modi responded in a lighter vein, “We all know the games politicians play.”
When a student from Push Vihar in Delhi asked him how did he become a good orator, Modi said one had to become a good listener to become a good orator.
“Apart from listening patiently one should also observe things in detail and take notes. That helps one become a good orator,” he said.
Modi also said that he has issued direction to replace the ritualistic ‘character certificates’ with aptitude certificates which will reflect the personality of the students when they leave schools.
Earlier, he launched two commemorative coins -- one of Rs 125 denomination and another of Rs 10 on the occasion.
(With agency inputs)
Read:President Pranab Mukherjee's class on eve of Teachers' Day