On this day i.e. 5th September of the year 1888 was born a great philosopher and statesman, who went on to become the second President of India, Bharat Ratna Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Having taught philosophy in Madras Presidency College, Universities of Mysore and Kolkata and University of Oxford, he was appointed Haskell lecturer in comparative religion at the University of Chicago. His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta and he influenced worldwide understanding of Hinduism. He believed that “teachers should be the best minds in the country”. It’s for all these inherent strengths of his character that we have been celebrating his birthday as Teacher’s Day since 1962, the year he assumed the office of President of India.
In our school, Teacher’s Day meant a day of rest and introspection for teachers. Senior students used to double up as teachers and teach junior classes. Other activities such as debates and dramatics also used to be a feature of Teacher’s Day celebrations.
Today, when westernised way of thinking and life dominates our day to day existence and Google knows it all, the importance of Teachers is becoming understated. In any case a Teacher is more of a source of information on subject matters rather than a messenger of worldly wisdom that earlier stood by an individual during the thick and thin of his or her life. But I am firmly of the opinion that if we aim to produce next generation of law abiding, cultured, tolerant and achieving youngsters, the institution of school and teachers teaching therein must be strengthened and projected and not understated. Teachers will have to assume the mantle of Guru to get back that respect from pupils and status in the society. A guru goes beyond the subject knowledge to inculcate virtues of truthfulness, honesty, respectfulness etc to produce a pupil who is not only subject matter expert but a life expert!
Teacher’s Day, which is different from Guru Purnima, has its origin in Dr Radhakrishnan’s birthday and importance bestowed by him on education and teachers whereas Guru Purnima has its origin in our shastras and is part of our culture and tradition. Now that we don’t have Gurus of yore, the onus is on modern day teachers to take on the mantle and help producing next generation of top class citizenry that takes our nation to newer heights!
I bow as mark of respect to all my teachers who contributed to making ma what I am today! This blog is dedicated to all the teachers of this world! Happy Teacher’s Day!