A Tribute to Teacher

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Students and teachers all over the country come together to celebrate the occasion of Teacher’s Day on the 5th of September. Vatsala Chhibber tells you more about the ‘noblest profession in the world’

In kindergarten, we listened to them in awe as they narrated enchanting fairy tales or revealed the magic of numbers. As we grow older, we occasionally fear them when they refuse to believe excuses such as “my dog ate my homework”. By the time we reach college, some of us grow indifferent to them, choosing to discreetly listen to Eminem songs instead of the ongoing lecture. Once we finish our education, we remember them fondly, finally understanding the value of the lessons they taught us and appreciating the times they tolerated us! Our teachers mould us, groom us, guide us, understand us and essentially make us the people we are. With such a big responsibility, it’s no surprise that teaching is referred to as ‘the noblest profession in the world’.
While many countries celebrate World Teacher’s Day on the 5th of October, India celebrates the efforts of her teachers on the 5th of September, which is Dr. S Radhakrishnan’s birthday. After he was elected the 2nd President of India, a group of students asked Dr Radhakrishnan if they could celebrate his birthday. He replied, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers’ Day.”
The profession of teaching has been valued throughout history, especially in India, where teachers are traditionally called gurus and viewed with God-like reverence. Though the methods of teaching have evolved from discourses under a tree to lectures in technologically equipped classrooms, the dedication and patience demanded of teachers remains the same. Indian history is brimming with stories of inspiring gurus and mentors. One such guru is Chankaya, who taught and groomed his student to such a degree, that the boy became one of the greatest rulers and warriors in history Chandragupta Maurya.

Guru Dakshina: The Greatest Tribute to a Teacher
In recent years, there has been a change in the attitude of students and the respect with which they regard their teachers is sadly diminishing. However, in Indian mythology lies an inspiring and touching story of a student’s unflinching obedience and reverence for his teacher. That student was Eklavya.
Eklavya was born a sudra (the lowest class according to the Vedic Caste System), which prevented him from being accepted as a student by any guru, including the renowned Dronacharya. Dejected by Drona’s refusal to teach him, Eklavya made a statue of Drona, which became a symbolic representation of his guru. Eklavya perched this statue next to a tree and prayed to it every day. The diligent Eklavya then tirelessly practised archery in front of this idol from dusk to dawn.
According to legend, Eklavya mastered the art to such a degree, that one day he managed to seal a barking dog’s mouth with his arrow, causing no injury to the dog! The suspicious Pandavas witnessed this sight and asked Eklavya to reveal the name of his teacher. Eklavya responded saying Dronacharya was his teacher and was then taken to him. On hearing Eklavya’s story, Dronacharya was pleased to see his loyalty and dedication. However, in order to protect the fated superiority of Arjuna, Dronacharya asked Eklavya for his right thumb as guru dakshina. Without any hesitation, Eklavya obeyed the request of his guru, cut off his thumb and offered it to Dronacharya. Although this crippled Eklavya’s abilities as an archer, he considered it a small price to pay for the guidance and knowledge he gained from his beloved guru.

 

Volume 2 Issue 3

 

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