A Teacher well remembered
by KP Gopalakrishnan
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
Teachers do play a great role in moulding young minds.It is even said that their role is next only to parents.Ancient Indian texts elevate guru even to the status of Parabrahma. But there could be teachers and teachers!
When I look back at my school and college days,I notice that I had the good fortune to be taught by very good teachers at various levels. At this point I would like to mention that being a boy of moderate means I was educated at a village school and thereafter at a Government College. Out of the teachers who taught me if I could single out one teacher, it is the lecturer who taught me English at the then Government Intermediate college, Bangalore in 1957 who was excellence personified..
I still remember him as a tall bearded man wearing a dark long coat.I cannot recollect his name now, although it happens to be a common name among Muslims. Every one of the 95 students of our class would look forward to his arrival at the appointed hour. As he enters the class he greets all of us with a warm Namaskara to which all of us respond in unison.Then starts his lessons a rather continuous out flow in inimitable style punctuated with wit and humorous anecdotes.
I recall particularly the lesson on Swami Vivekananda where there is a reference tot the status women enjoyed in ancient India and the respect they commanded in society in those days of yore..I must say the teacher was at his best that day and the students were spellbound. Deviating slightly from the text the teacher referred to the passage in Ramayana where Rama asks his brother, Lakshman for confirmation whether the ornaments recovered during their journey in search of Sita are those of Sita or not. In reply Lakshman says that he has no knowledge about the keyura (head ornament) or kundala (Ear ornament) but he can distinctly recognize the Nupur (feet ornament) which is indeed of Sita as it was his routine to worship her feet every morning .In the process the lecturer recited verbatim the famous sloka from Ramayana 'Na hum jaanami keyure....,' and explained the significance of the great cultural heritage that is bequeathed to us and its relevance in the present day deterioration of moral standards.
I still wonder the effect this oration had on our young minds. Most of the students were Hindus and had some knowledge of Ramayana but very few of us could have heard of this sloka from the Sanskrit text and its meaning. Coming this from a lecturer who is of a different faith has then convinced us more than ever our unity in diversity.
At the age of 72 today, I shudder at the increasing number of incidents of eve teasing and rape cases that are reported in the visual and print media.I wish we had teachers to mould young minds like the teacher, I had! ****