Long Essay on Teachers’ Day
This day is celebrated as Teachers’ Day because on this day of 5th September in the year 1888 was born one of the greatest teachers of our times: Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, who went on to become the President of India in 1962. The day is celebrated to express our respect and gratitude to a person who brought so many laurels to the country. By celebrating this day as Teachers’ Day, India remembers one of its illustrious sons of all times. By celebrating this day, this same respect is extended to all teachers as they are all expected to impart those very values and standards that Dr. Radhakrishnan stood for.
India celebrates its Teachers’ Day where students across the country participate in certain programmes that are exclusively meant for their teachers. They make their teachers feel special as they bestow flowers and bouquets to them. India has a tradition of holding teachers in high esteem. There are innumerable examples of how students or disciples of teachers have out of their way shown respect to their teachers. Eklavya had merely taken Dronacharya as his teacher and yet he did not hesitate to pay his fee when demanded by the teacher. The teacher demanded his thumb and the taught gave it without batting an eyelid. This simply shows the kind of esteem that can be shown to a teacher. This need not be emulated by others.
A good teacher according to Dr. Radhakrishnan “must know how to arouse the interest of the pupil in the field of education for which he is responsible. He must himself be a master in the field of education and be in touch with the latest developments in the subjects; he must himself be a fellow traveller in the exciting pursuit of knowledge”. He not only believed in what he said, he practised it himself. He did not have a great time in his young days. In fact, he came from a very poor family and making both ends meet was a difficult thing for him. After doing his masters in philosophy, he took to teaching. His wonderful and famous ways of teaching endeared him to one and all. Pupils began to flock to him and this smoothened his economic crisis. It was this style of teaching which made learning a lively exercise with him and it was this way of teaching that took him to places as a man of erudition.
Teachers, one fondly hopes, should be able to imbibe some of those qualities that Dr. Radhakrishnan was known for. Teachers should have the ability to face up to any situation known or unknown through sheer intelligence and through alacrity of mind. The teachers we see today do not quite inspire the same confidence in us that the teachers of the past did. This is not to say that the teachers of our times are not up to the mark. But yes, they are not up to the mark of Dr. Radhakrishnan.
Speaking about Teachers’ Day is speaking about Dr. Radhakrishnan. It will be interesting to know that when Dr. Radhakrishnan was appointed Ambassador to the USSR in 1949, few had expected him to be able to deliver anything positive. Most thought that his grounding in idealist philosophy would not stand him in good stead with Joseph Stalin, an ardent communist perceived by many as monstrous. But the teacher in him took control of the situation even when face to face with Stalin. With the help of an interpreter, he told Stalin that he came from a country where an emperor renounced war after securing a bloody victory and went on to become a monk. He was obviously referring to Ashoka the Great. He then added, “You have waded your way to power through force. Who knows that might happen to you also?” Stalin smiled and said, “Yes, miracles do happen.” Stalin then revealed that he had spent five years in a theological seminary. This meant he did not rule out the possibility of that miracle. Before leaving for India, Radhakrishnan paid Stalin a courtesy call. Stalin was not keeping well. Dr. Radhakrishnan patted him on the cheek and on the back. Stalin said that he was the first person to have treated Stalin as a human being and not as a monster. Stalin was touched by this gesture of Dr. Radhakrishnan and felt sad that he was leaving. He knew he was not going to live long but wished Dr. Radhakrishnan to live long. Stalin died within six months. It was this quality in him that endeared him to such a person as Stalin who was known for his ruthlessness.
It is the teacher who makes or unmakes a life. A good teacher can transform the life of his/ her pupils. Even though we cannot have another Dr. Radhakrishnan in our midst, there is no dearth of quality teachers either in our society. For instance, Anand Kumar of Super 30 at Patna is an internationally-acclaimed teacher. His methods are creating waves and are making lives of so many pupils drawn from the lowest rung of society. Year after year he has been shaping up the life and career of so many who would not have been able to see the light of the day on their own. Likewise, there are others at different places of the country quietly shaping the life and career of so many and in the process are contributing to the nation-building.
There is no gainsaying the fact that teachers play a pivotal role in determining the destiny of a nation by imparting quality education to children. Quality, however, should not remain restricted to the lessons for examinations, but it should refer to those aspects that contribute to making of character. A nation, no matter how well endowed with technological skill and economic well-being, cannot enrich itself if it did not have citizenry of character. A teacher’s job is to build character as also to build society and nation by imparting quality education to his/ her pupils in the manner Dr. Radhakrishnan did. The central idea behind the celebration of Teachers’ Day is to achieve this end. And once that is achieved, that would be the true celebration of Teachers’ Day.