It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge - Albert Einstein, the Great Scientist and Nobel Prize Winner.
It is truly so. Teacher plays the most crucial and definitive role in making and shaping the life of every child. Whenever and wherever we find a society and finally a country developing in a qualitative manner, it is primarily because of thousands of teachers assiduously involved in teaching and guiding children with the sole goal of producing millions of good citizens.
Swami Vivekananda writes, "The real Guru (Teacher) is the one through whom we have our spiritual descent. He is the channel through which the spiritual current flows to us, the link which joins us to the spiritual world..."
In his famous book, "Wings of Fire” our former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam narrates beautifully his experiences about his early formative day teacher. He writes, “Once I settled down at the Schwartz High School, Ramanathapuram, the enthusiastic fifteen-year-old within me re-emerged. My teacher, Iyadurai Soloman, was an ideal guide for an eager young mind that was yet uncertain of the possibilities and alternatives that lay before it. He made his students feel very comfortable in class with his warm and open minded attitude... During my stay at Ramanathapuram, my relationship with him grew beyond that of teacher and pupil. In his company, I learnt that one could exercise enormous influence over the events of one’s own life… He (Solomon) instilled in all the children a sense of their own worth. Solomon raised my self- esteem to a high point and convinced me, the son of parents who had not had the benefits of education that I too could aspire to become whatever I wished... By the time I completed my education at Schwartz, I was a self-confident boy determined to succeed…"
The important place of a teacher in everyone's life was emphasised nicely and forcefully by the great mystic poet, philosopher and saint, 'Kabir' in the following lines:
गुरु गोविन्द दोउ खड़े काको लागूँ पाँव
बलिहारी गुरु आपने जो गोविन्द दियो बताय.
Now, a very inspiring real life short story of Alexander the Great and his renowned teacher, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and polymath:
In the course of a journey both Alexander and Aristotle found a river to be crossed to reach the other side, but none of them had the idea how deep was the river. As such, there was risk in crossing it. Aristotle marched forward to cross the river first, but Alexander stopped him and insisted instead to let him cross first with his extremely touching and inspiring argument. He (Alexander) said, “You are my teacher and I am your student. Even though I die, you can produce hundreds of Alexanders, but if you die, I can't produce another Aristotle.”
It filled Aristotle with unbounded pride and made him speechless. That was the level of respect for the teacher. May be that was the reason Alexander the Great asserted his feeling in these words, "I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well."
Today is the birth anniversary of a great teacher, philosopher and statesman, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President of India and the second President of the Indian Union.
We celebrate his birthday as Teacher's Day (5th September) in our country. Whatever little has been discussed on this occasion will prove worthwhile only if we heartily salute such good teachers and bless all such promising students who are still in large numbers in our society. This day also provide us with an opportunity to introspect, ponder and act to make our country illiteracy-free and wisdom-rich by doing the needful individually and collectively, either as a teacher or a student or a common citizen thereby fulfilling the dream of Dr. Radhakrishnan as he used to say, "The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature."
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.