American novelist Henry Brooks Adams said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops". Thus we always have our unforgettable favourite teachers or mentors. Some of the well-known faces of the region look back at their teachers with nostalgia.
Veteran athlete Milkha Singh, recounts that he has influenced by three such teachers whose contribution he will cherish always. Two of them are teachers from his school in Pakistan: Gulam Mohammad Maulvi who taught him in a masjid (madarsa) till Class 4 and master Lal Chand who taught him English from Class 5 to 10 in the village school. He says, “Thanks to both who were very strict and always helped us to take our studies seriously. They used all their energies to ensure we learn well and build a good future. Lal Chand Sir surprised me by attending the 1960 athletic meet in Delhi to wish me success.” The third mentor was his coach Ranbir Singh whom he gives full credit for making him ‘the famous -‘Milkha Singh’.
Coming to his coach, he shares like his teachers he was also very strict in all trainings who made him realise that nothing impossible till our will power is strong. “He would never let me give up whom I owe all my success. He often said that I can break all world records and never let my sprits go down. I feel lucky that I got this year a golden chance to meet him again in Michigan, US where he is now settled. It was at Independence Day being marked there by thousands of members of Indian community where I was the chief guest and he was also invited. In front all, I called him on the stage, hugged him tightly and announced before all that whatever I am today is because of him and my eyes watered”, he underlined went on add that if all coaches become like him there can be hundreds of Milkha Singh.
For noted Punjabi poet Surjit Patar, his mathematics teacher master Shankar Das in the village school and later Prof. Surjit Singh from college and Prof. Dalip Kaur Tiwana (novelist) from the University hold a special place in his heart. “Das besides teaching mathematics, he narrated many stories and experiences that helped us understand life. Although, my love for poetry began from class VI but during college and university, both professors boosted my confidence and nurtured my talent”, he says with gratitude.
Miss India World 2013 Navneet Kaur Dhillon says being from Army background, she and came into contact with many teachers but Prof. Gurmeet Singh Mann, Director of Centre of Advance Media Studies at Punjabi University, Patiala, was the most inspiring. “He was empathetic to the students and we could share much with him including our personal problems and he would give us the best solutions. I always meet him when I am in Patiala,” she says.
Similarly, famous Punjabi anchor Satinder Satti is grateful to her Punjabi teacher Navdeep Kaur who taught her in Class 12 in Batala. Satti says, “She encouraged me to contribute to the college magazine, participate in poetry contests. She shaped the poet in me and I owe her much. I am still in touch with her.”