Let me begin by presenting before you two scenarios.
Scenario one - 2006 B.C.
A guru is sitting on a raised platform with his students sitting on the ground below him. Their eyes closed, they are chanting:
Guru Brahma, guru Vishnu,
Guru devo Maheshwara,
Guru Sakshat Param Brahma
Tasmayshree Gurave Namaha.
Now let us move to scenario two - 2006 A.D.
A teacher is trying to reason with his students who are beating him, flogging him and battering him mercilessly to death.
I think you will all agree with me that Teacher's day has never been more significant than it is in today's turbulent times.
'There is nothing in this world as permanent as change', wrote the great Roman poet Ovid many centuries back. This seemingly paradoxical statement best echoes the changing Teacher-student relationship. Our culture, our heritage, our mythology, is replete with examples of teachers who motivated and inspired their students to reach for the stars and students who lived up to their expectations.
Once, the greatest wrestler of his time threw an open challenge that he was invincible and no one could beat him in wrestling. Whoever defied him lost badly. Suddenly, a young man came forward and challenged him, but the wrestler refused to fight with him. He was ridiculed by everyone and was called a loser. Later, on being asked why he refused to wrestle he said that the young man who had challenged him was his student. He didn't want to fight with him because he felt it would be better to face thousand times more ridicule than defeating his own student. And his greatest victory would be when his student would prove to be better than him. His supreme happiness lay in that.
Can there be a greater example of sacrifice than this?
Earlier, Gurus were considered the same as God and the students used to give up their families, their friends, their everything for the attainment of education from them. The feeling of the students towards their teachers in those times can be expressed in these beautiful lines: 'Tum hi ho mata, pita tum hi ho, tum hi ho bandhu, sakha tum hi ho'.
Now the times have completely changed. The respect, regard and reverence which the students had for their teachers are fast vanishing. Instances of teachers being ridiculed, threatened, beaten up and even killed are becoming common. It is believed that children are the future of the nation. And their future is shaped by the teachers. But, if the teachers themselves have no future what kind of shaping would they do and what kind of a future would our nation have. I don't want to sound too pessimistic but it is high time we woke up to the harsh reality. Our teachers are the builders of our nation, they need to be given their due. As the adage goes, "There is a difference between trying to make something for yourself and trying to make something of yourself." And it is the teachers who help us in making something of ourselves.
Don't you agree our teachers deserve much more than what we are giving them?
Even if we cannot become Ekalavyas to our Dronacharyas, shouldn’t we at least try to be Arjunas?
Today, September 5th, the Birthday of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, is celebrated as Teacher's Day. A great philosopher, a true statesman, and a renowned scholar Dr. Radhakrishnan epitomized all the qualities of head and heart which a teacher should have. Teacher’s day is an occasion for all of us to pay tribute to our teachers and commit ourselves to the values espoused by them.
Dr. Radhakrishnan once said,
"We have learnt to fly in the skies, we have learnt to race in the waters, but alas we have not yet learnt to walk on the earth."
Friends, let us, on this teacher's day, take a pledge to bring back the ethos of regard and respect for our gurus. Let us learn to walk on this earth, in the footsteps of our teachers, with our heads held high.