President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday described teaching as one of the noblest professions “whose dharma is to impart wisdom” and said that teachers must receive respect and recognition from society.
The President’s comments came in an official statement on the eve of Teachers’ Day, celebrated every year on September 5 to mark the birthday of India’s second president and scholar Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
He also addressed teachers and students at the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya inside the President' Estate in Delhi during an event to mark an event organised by the Delhi government.
“Teaching as a profession must receive respect and recognition from society,” he said and added that teachers must be made to feel that their contribution and devotion to students is appreciated.
He said Teachers’ Day was a special occasion “when we honour our teachers who are practitioners of one of the noblest professions and whose dharma is to impart wisdom.
Mukherjee, who once taught political science at a college in Bengal, also turned a teacher for a day as he imparted lessons on the inherent strength of the Constitution and what independence really means during his address at the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya.
He reminded the students about the process of the formation of Constitution and recited the Preamble to them.
“For the first time through this Constitution, we the Indian people have the right to make our own laws,” Mukherjee said.
Tracing his own school journey, President Mukherjee told the students how he had to travel on foot for five kilometers to reach his school.
The President also told students of the contrast between the syllabus of his time and today’s.
“When I was in school, our history books were written by colonial leaders. In our exam, 40 percent of the marks weightage was of British history. But today, you study about Indian independence movement. This is good,” said the President.
He also spoke about his constant urge of “teaching somewhere”.
Recalling his days as a student in his home state West Bengal, Mukherjee said, “When I was a student, my school was very far, a little more than five km. I used to walk through paddy fields,” he said.
He also recalled how he used to use a towel to protect his books while walking to school clothed only in another towel tied “around my waist”.
The President’s address to students came soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with students and teachers in Delhi.