Great teachers are the architects of great leaders

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the first vice president and second president of India. He was born on September 1888 at a village named Sarvepalli in the erstwhile Madras Presidency. It is now in Andhra Pradesh. We celebrate this day as Teachers Day in India to commemorate his birthday and to revere every teacher who has influenced our lives. Let us know about such teachers peeping in the memories of their students.

Dr Rakesh Kumar is a doctor at IGIMS. He treats kids. He remembers his teacher Sultan Ahmad. Sultan Ahmad was one whom he still remembers as a soft spoken, punctual and sincere teacher. Doctor says that his affection towards his students was exceptional. He remembered all of our names and called by our names. I cannot forget the day when he had brought a pocket Oxford dictionary for me. In fact, I was dull in English and always confused in meanings. That dictionary must be there in my library. I love my patients today. It is a return of what I got when I was growing up as an individual.

Firoz Alam Siddiqui, former chairman of Al-Khair Cooperative Credit Society Ltd. recalls Sahdeo Prasad Singh with great respect and reverence. Sahdeo Prasad Singh was principal of famous A. N. College of Patna. Firoz Alam Siddiqui recalls his days of pre university at the college. “One day, when I was entering on the campus on my bicycle and met my beloved teacher at the gate. I said him ‘pranam’ sitting on my bicycle. He got too angry. I realized my fault and the next day I went to his office and begged his pardon. He not only pardoned me but also instructed his librarian to provide me books on his guarantee. Allowing books from library was a great help for me then and principal’s guarantee was a lovely gift.”

Most of us must have at least one story that tickles us our whole life. Such one story Irfan Parwez recalls. “I recall my English teacher Mohammad Aabid. He taught me in school when I was in class V. I was only student among the class of 20 to 30 kids who was beaten daily without a gap. I always prayed he would get sick and I do not remember a day when my prayer was heard. When I see him today respect and affection automatically ooze out of me. He was so strict yet very loving. His sincerity towards my improvement was unquestionable. I am a high school teacher and teach English. However, I never beat my students.”

Three stories show how influential a teacher can be in our lives. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a teacher and would have influenced thousands of lives as a teacher.

Read A Letter From Abraham Lincoln To His Son’s Teacher

He was a teacher of philosophy and first appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the Madras Presidency College in 1909. In 1918, he was selected as Professor of Philosophy by the University of Mysore, where he taught at Maharaja College, Mysore. He wrote his first book, “The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore.” He believed Tagore’s philosophy was the “genuine manifestation of the Indian spirit“. His second book, The Reign of Religion in Contemporary Philosophy was published in 1920.

Being a teacher, his students immensely loved him. BHU professor writes that when he had left for Calcutta University his carriage during departure was pulled by students and not by horses and the entire platform was full of cries as , “Radhakrishnan ki jai“. He was so simple as a teacher. Banerji writes that when he used to teach students at his residence in Mysore, he used to receive students himself, offer tea and used to see off them to door. He used to shake hands with each of them.

“It was India’s peculiar privilege to have a great philosopher, a great educationist and a great humanist as the President. That in itself shows the kind of men we honour and respect,” Jawahar Lal Nehru wrote about him.

It is truly said that great teachers are the architects of great leaders. Happy Teachers Day.


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