One of my students sent me an interesting information on WhatsApp. The information was as follows: In the year 1994 the then President of India, Late Shankar Dayal Sharma, was on an official visit to Muscat (Oman). The moment Air India plane landed at the airport, three interesting incidents happened:
Oman King never visits the airport himself to receive any dignitary from any country, never! But, King of Oman himself went to the airport to receive the President of India. Then again, when the plane landed, Oman King climbed himself up the ladder and went inside the aircraft and accompanied the President.
Though a lot many chauffeur-driven luxury cars were waiting to carry the Indian President to the Royal Palace, Oman King himself drove the car in which the president was to sit and travel.
Later, when reporters asked the King as to why he broke so many protocols, the King replied: "I did not go to the airport to receive Mr. Sharma because he was the President of India. The fact of the matter is, I had studied in India and learned so many things over there. When I was studying in Pune, Mr. Sharma was my respected professor, and this is the reason I did all this out of my respect and reverence for my teacher."
Great indeed! This is the magnanimity, relevance, and glory of being a teacher.
With this instance, I am also reminded of a memoir.
Long back, I had asked for an appointment with the President Shankar Dayal Sharma to present my newly published book to him. Initially, the time granted was ten minutes only, but it was so great of the President to carry on the meeting for around half an hour inquiring about my literary pursuits and other academic attainments. It was really my privilege to have a cup of tea and snacks which the President offered to me so fondly and warmly.
Those moments of my proud and memorable meeting with the teacher-turned President Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma are truly precious moments recorded indelibly on my memory screen.
Dr. Shiben Krishen Raina
Currently in Ajman (UAE)
Member, Hindi Salahkar Samiti,
Ministry of Law & Justice (Govt. of India)
Senior Fellow, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India)
Dr. Raina's mini bio can be read here: