Indians celebrate September 5th as the teacher’s day. It is the birthday of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second president of India. He was also a scholar, philosopher and an excellent teacher. His contributions on the field of comparative religion and the contemporary understanding of Advaita Vedanta (philosophy of Sankaracharya) are world-renowned. We have the word Guru for teacher in many of the Indian languages. Guru is one who removes the darkness and shows the way for the disciple. So we also have the day of Guru Purnima.
What does it mean to be teacher today?
- The knowledge (and scholarship) in the subject is unavoidable. We as a country should spend more on building resources of the teachers that the future generation is guided well.
- In this world of competition, teacher should help student to know that each one of them is unique with unique talents. The greatest gift from a teacher to a student would be helping them to unravel those talents.
- In the world of fake news and all sorts of isms (nationalism, fascism, violent nationalism, fundamentalism), teachers must enable students to become citizens capable of thinking for themselves.
- One of the greatest crimes to childhood (as I see, sorry to hurt many) is the tuition culture, which makes the students run from school to tuition centers. It is important that the government authorities and teachers’ organizations work out on how to tackle the same. [Some may need tuition, but not everybody, and not for everything].
I recall with gratitude all that, many teachers (formal teachers and informal teachers) have done to me. Be they continue to be a blessing.