In honour of the torchbearers (Happy Teachers Day!)

‘Your aim in life’ – had been a common topic for essays during school, and how crazy and ambitious our dreams were! With the guidance of our teachers we’d scribble on about how we wanted to be astronauts, scientists, film-stars, engineers, doctors, lawyers… but how many of us did ever want to be a teacher and pass on the bright torch of knowledge? We are made to dream in a certain way, the way sculpted out by our reputed society, which holds high regards to certain professions while looking down upon others. Ironically, the same is taught by our teachers in most cases unknowingly or unwillingly.

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Have you ever heard a teacher talk about how noble the profession is? But you would definitely hear doctors, engineers, scientists and the like, preach about the importance of their respective jobs. And how did they become what they are; was it just by hard work and determination? The answer is quite well known to us.

Chemistry could have never won my love and dedication unless for Mrs Krishna Chakraborty, who ordered me to go home for breakfast post my two-hour session, and come back after 30 minutes to resume class on a Saturday morning! She made sure I understood the concept of periodic tables that day starting from 7 in the morning, and I did and did not forget till I finished school and several years after.

Great teachers like her go out of their way to ensure that their students have actually learned the lesson. It can be stated undeniably that we’ve all, at least for once in our lives, been blessed with some such wonderful teachers. They are the living embodiment of the phrase friend, philosopher, and guide.

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“I learned that a teacher can be your friend from Mrs Satyaboti Nadkar, my Geography teacher. She was very witty; I used to attend her tuition classes along with an all-girls group, and when some other boys would attend the class and check out the girls, she would set me as an example and tell them to be descent like me!” exclaimed an elated Chandramoy Ghosh, advertising professional.

“Her son was a few years younger than me, but she’d scold us the same way. She was very happy with my results, once they were declared, and so was I when I came to know that she topped the SSC exams and joined a different school as the principal. We are still in touch. She had asked me to introduce my girlfriend to her. I’ll do so, once I have a girlfriend!” added a blushing Chandramoy.

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“Gautam Das, my English teacher, was more like a guardian to me. He helped me get over through the toughest times of my life, especially after my mom’s death. He is smart and caring, although sometimes he was pretty strict at times. He is probably the only teacher who ever slapped me!” reminisces Arpan Paul.

It does not matter what subject they teach, or how old they are, the position of a teacher or a guru, one who imparts knowledge, is above all. Every other profession is like a branch of a strong tree, while teaching is the trunk, the foundation of the entire tree, holding everything in place.

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Upon asking around, people had various reasons to love and respect their favourite teachers. While some admired their teachers, some build such strong relations with them that even decades after school they are still etched in the memory fresh. “My favourite teacher? Srabasti Ghosh, our Business communications professor, helped me overcome my fears of public speaking. Once, during a seminar, when I had to speak in front of a lot of our industry important heads, she knew I was very nervous. So she kept eye contact throughout the time and kept giving me encouraging nods, and after a minute or so I gained some confidence. Finally, our team stood second,” said Sampurna Das, Support Associate at MyTasker.

Anya Gupta, PR professional says,”I find my Economics teacher during high school, Mr Sachin the most adorable because he was the most patient teacher I ever had. Everybody used to attend his class and get good marks. The way he used to communicate was amazing as he never gave punishments yet had a push factor to keep everybody on track.”

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With different methods of teaching, our teachers have over the years created gems in different fields of life. While every day we take the privilege of eating away parts of their lives, today, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birth anniversary had been assigned for our gurus. Brimming over with pride and joy I wish all the teachers in the world a very happy teacher’s day! If not for them, we would not be who we are now.

 

(Had it not been for my mother, the earliest teacher I was entrusted upon by the almighty; my adorable Krishma ma’am; our beloved Art teacher Amit sir; our strict Mathematics teacher Parvez sir; energetic and spontaneous sports teacher Rocky sir; my favourite English teachers IC sir and Prabha ma’am, the evergreen fun loving Mathematics teacher Amitabh sir, my Karate instructor Shihan Mir, my supportive and brilliant professors: Jhuma ma’am, Manali ma’am, Debanjan Sir, Reshmi ma’am, Rakesh sir, Ali sir, Sourav sir, and all the everyday teachers I have come across in my humble years forward, I would have been nothing close to what I am today. Cheers!)

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The Deprived Indians ?

Indians often express a lot of pride on calling themselves ‘Indians’ and the rest, Chinese! Are these Indians really Indian at the core of their heart or are they simply showing off? Is that pride false? The pride of Knowledge, Philosophy, Science and Mathematics? Where is the Indian-ness as they say which binds them all together? Do they really know who they are or who their friends are?

“Manipur? Oh! Must be there somewhere in the Northeast… This is what most of us say when we come across this name. What is the Northeast? Is it a different country? No, don’t be silly, it’s the north eastern part of India. How many states constitute the north east? Umm… I guess seven… Could you please name them? Assam, Arunachal Pradesh… umm…”

That is how people respond. Going deep into the issue one will find too many holes to stitch, but isn’t it worth a try than to have your own countrymen suffer endlessly? Why have they been separated from the rest of the Indians? Because of their colour or because they belong to the Mongolian race? If that is so, isn’t it as we say being Racist?

North-easterns are not bad; they are not not-friendly, or snobbish! If one from the mainland claims so, then it is highly recommended to that person to check others from calling them ‘chinkies’ and ‘Chinese’! If they are unsocial, we are also equally unsocial. A relationship doesn’t build in a day, it is a gradual process. To be friends with someone, one needs to understand that person. Here both parties are expected to explore each other’s lifestyle and culture then judge one another.

“They wear different clothes, so they look different and hence we don’t feel comfortable talking to them.” “They try to look like foreigners!”- are some of the views gathered from the mainland mass. But are they aware of the ASFPA and the torture the local people have to face every day? Even today, people of Manipur do not dare to step out of their houses after 7pm. The price of gas cylinders rise up to Rs2000, as the only highway connecting the state to the rest of India is often blocked by goons.  Irom Sharmila is still fasting to protest against unlawful killing of localites and zero investigation. There hasn’t been ample effort to develop the area, it has been constantly neglected, and the people have been living under constant fear of the army and insurgency. Hence how can we the mainlanders, judge north-easterns calling them ‘unsocial’, ‘foreigners’ and ‘snobs’? Ponder on the issue and act wisely. According to Shakespeare the rising generation must be “Young in limbs, in judgment old” and thus break down the wall of discomfort.