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I salute you, teacher

india Updated: Sep 04, 2011 23:22 IST
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On Teachers’ Day today, a grateful nation pays its tributes to the teaching community. On this day, how fondly I remember my English teacher! A bespectacled countenance, her squeaky tone not really sounding a song, her concern for discipline making us nervous, Mrs. E. Andrews’s grammar lessons at JD Tytler School always hit the bullseye.

Mrs Andrew told us that nouns were pointless while the adjectives were absurd. Surely, the verb is versatile and thus relevant. Verb is work and work is religion.

For a teacher, I like these pearls of wisdom from the Taittarya Upanishad: Matri Devo Bhava; Pitri Devo Bhava; Acharya Devo Bhava (Respect the mother, the father and the teacher). The guru is seen as the preceptor, the acharya and teacher. All our sacred texts mention how spiritual guides had remained fearless when attacked by men of physical might.

Students’ tomorrows are shaped by what teachers do for them today. The kids’ imaginative faculties have to be honed, inner potentials drawn out and moral, aesthetic and spiritual philosophy awakened. For carrying out this mission, the teacher must be patted by the management and supported in all manners by allowing him/her a fair amount of autonomy to act and experiment with freedom.

Teachers have a tremendous sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in being able to touch so many innocent, young, blooming lives, especially in these times when there is despair, blatant neglect, boredom and hostility around.

Eklavya, himself a great guru, often said that guru removes the clouds and darkness in his disciple’s mind. The Sutra literature rightly quotes: Guru Brahamma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwaraha, Guru Sakshat Para Brahamma, Tasmai Sri Guruve Namaha (A teacher is equivalent to God, and he should be regarded and respected). Very truly, my granduncle, Maulana Azad, himself a towering educationist, had said, “Teachers are the builders of the nation. Respect them, support them."