Salutation to my Teachers/Gurus 26/07/2010

I want to go back to my school days in Hyderabad where my siblings and I were admitted into a convent school near our house. The day would begin with a prayer after which our class teacher would check whether our shoes were polished and our nails were dirt free. We were strictly instructed to speak only in English by the nuns who ran the school.

My classmate, an Anglo-Indian boy, never did his homework and was always punished for it. So, one day, he found the easy way out by copying from my book, with the result both of us got punished by the ever vigilant teacher. Since then he learnt to be more regular and I had learnt a lesson. 

When I joined college in Jamshedpur, our principal, Mrs Mehta, a strict disciplinarian, was a terror in to all of us students. We were overawed by her presence and sometimes would forget to wish her when she passed by. Then she would literally stop us and give us a sarcastic look till we greeted her with a good morning and she would return our salutation. Even now after decades of leaving college, as a teacher/trainer of communication skills, the habit of wishing people continues. Only difference is, I find students don’t wish me and even when I wish them first and wait, only a few return the greeting and others just smile and walk away.

My English lecturer encouraged us to think and write our answers in our own words and gave high marks to those who followed her advice. I owe it to her for whatever creative writing I am pursuing now.

After I came to Chennai post  marriage, I have done a few part-time courses, which gave me an opportunity to meet teacher/journalists like the late S A Govindarajan and V P V Rajan who were strict with a smile. They motivated us students to try our hand at writing features /essays so that we could develop and practise the art. I am grateful to them for the personal interest they took in us. There are yet other teachers/Gurus  who haven’t taught me but who acted as my sounding board and were too willing to clear my doubts whenever I happened to approach them. I would like to mention Prof.Ms.Rajalakshmi and Prof.K.N.Rao in particular as they  conform to my childhood image of a teacher/Guru – simple and unassuming, never wearing their learning on their sleeve, at the same time, ready to share it with others like me, certainly not for a price.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao

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9 thoughts on “Salutation to my Teachers/Gurus 26/07/2010

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    We can never forget our teachers who took up the profession because of their commitment to learning and sharing. They didn’t want us to merely commit some facts to memory and reproduce them in exams but wanted us to love the subject by teaching us the fundamentals patiently or making the learning process exciting. These days you have teachers who take up such jobs because they don’t get khushi-khushi bank jobs or sinecure govt. jobs. It is only a means of earning a salary for them.

  2. meera rao

    Unfortunately a teacher’s job seems to be the last resort and students become victims of these disinclined teachers for no fault of theirs. Also We tend to celebrate the 5th. of September as Teachers’ Day but very few of us salute our teachers/Gurus on Guru Purnima Day which according to the Hindu calender fell on the 25th.of July this year.

  3. Professor V.Raghavan

    He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

    – George Bernard Shaw

    Many of the present-day practioners of the noble profession fall in the above category.

    1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

      People who are able to do something well, can do that thing for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching. (Used to disparage teachers. From George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman :

      Bob: I’m so discouraged. My writing teacher told me my novel is hopeless. Jane: Don’t listen to her, Bob. Remember: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

      At IIMA as students we had concocted this :
      Those who can, Do
      Those who can’t Do, teach
      Those who can’t teach, teach at IIMA.

      We had a professor of macro-economics whose knowledge of economics predated Keynes. Fortunately we had Rangarajan in the third trimester for Micro-economics (Managerial Economics) who later on became the Governor of RBI. He taught us the subject using Lagrangian multipliers and differential equations. What a change !

      1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

        Also we had two world-renowned professors teaching us Corporate Planning using the SWOT method. They did an extensive market survey, capital budgeting, funds flow analysis etc, etc., and started a restaurant in Ahmedabad to compete with Havemore restaurants. This restaurant ran for 6 months, ran into terrible losses and had to be shut down. These 2 professors were consultants to many many corporations and they used to advice them about diversification and business expansion. The first two lines of the poem apply in this case.

  4. Professor V.Raghavan

    A Guru Poornima Discourse was delivered by Swami Parthasarathy in Mumbai on 23rd July 2010. A book titled “Governing Business and Relationships” was released on that occasion. It contains about 200 pages and is rather expensive (Rs 525). If I buy the book, I will lend it to Mrs Meera Rao, after I go through it. As you may know, Swamiji has spoken to audiences at Wharton, Chicago and Harvard business schools.

  5. Dr N R Rao

    The role of a guru is differnt from a teacher. “Guru” is referred as a spirtual leader in Indian context. Now the term “Guru” is used in academic context also. In academic world Guru is expected to mould a student to become a professional in a particular discipline. A guru should necessarily have practical experience in the particular field combined with the knowledge in the subject concerned. The role of a teacher is to make students learn. Recently I was teaching on the topic Financial Ratios to MBA students at a wellknown university. I have requested one of the students to write the formulas and application of the formulas on the board while I was dictating. The student who was writing on the board has made use of the time between my dictation and explanation by going back to her seat to take down what was written by her. This shows her real interest and dedication for learning from the teacher. There should be a separate Day called “SISHYA POURNIMA” to appreciate such students.

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