Addressing millions of students and teachers across the country, Modi celebrated his special Teacher’s Day. It all began with some speeches of students on Dr Radhakrishnan, all privileged students reached the auditorium but other not so privileged kept the schools closed or some students managed to have some glimpses on TV. Modiji addressed students in very hardcore Hindi language, which was over dose for non-Hindi students. Anyway, a teacher does not merely teach us what is there in books, they can teach us humility and the art of living! NaMo, you also represent a great teacher to the youth of India. Dr S Radhakrishnan, the great philosopher and teacher was born on this very day. He called teachers as “lamps which lighten the heart and soul of the taught”. The Gurukul system of teaching was a characteristic of Indian system of learning which brought students close to their teacher, treating them as family members. Time has passed, with technology in full swing, now there are virtual teachers, virtual class rooms and E books. Human element and touch are becoming slowly extinct.
Today there is formal system of education where teacher-student relation is based on affordability and payment, in which commercialization has also set in. It is welcome that our PM chose to speak directly to the students and teachers yesterday. In a first such address to the nation, the Prime Minister said there is a great demand for good teachers in the world, and India being a young country should be able to produce good quality teachers for the world. There is need to give more value to this important tradition, and it needs more discussion why students don’t want to be teachers. Modi discussed various issues with students while HRD Minister Smriti Irani was yawning all the time.
On the other hand, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi felicitated teachers of a school in Amethi on Teachers’ Day during his two day visit to his constituency. Rahul Gandhi reached himself to those underprivileged students who can never be able to reach these big ministers, but he was hardly in news. Entire day, the media focus was on Modi.
We could see Tau Modi in action, converting Teacher’s Day into Children’s Day, addressing the nation as family and treating it as an extended adda, a gappa session. After a few perfunctory remarks on the importance of teachers (if you want to plant for a year, be a farmer; if you want to plant for ten years, be a fruit grower; and if you want to plant people, be a teacher), he addressed children directly, using skills learnt as a lifelong pracharak to complete effect. It was a charm offensive on future voters of epic proportions–Modi the prankster from school disrupting shehnai players at a wedding and stapling the clothes of wedding guests. Modi the friendly uncle telling children to go out and play and sweat profusely at least four times a day–khel khud nahin to khushi nahin. Modi the world traveller informing children of their counterparts in Japan. Modi the headmaster (or taskmaster as he preferred to describe himself) telling children to read books other than textbooks; keep their homes as well as classrooms clean; and help their parents. And of course Modi the technology buff, using video conferencing to take questions from students in Port Blair, Leh, Dantewada, Tinsukia, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuj and many more
It was a continuation of his stellar performance in Japan, where he pulled the ears of children, attempted the flute, held hands with monks, and even played the drums, much to the chagrin of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, showing himself to be more than the cutout we got used to in the Manmohan Singh era. He also unveiled two missions: Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya as well as asking professionals to devote themselves to teaching one period a day.
Tau Modi, while concluding his interactive speech gave seven steps of wisdom for children. Be clean, keep your homes and schools clean. Read anything, but read–even if it is the paper in which you buy your pakoras. If you can, read biographies, the only way to understand the world and get close to history. Play. Don’t spend time only with your textbooks, television and computer. Forget Google Guru. Otherwise you will have only information, no knowledge. Do something for the nation, however small, whether it is saving electricity, not wasting water or studying hard. Dream. Kuch karne ka anand hona chahiye, he said. No matter what you do, where you are, enjoy what you’re doing. Develop a skill. Finesse your haath ka hunar. Keep the child in you alive. It was Chacha Modi, speaking Gandhian language. Gandhi was a great believer in not “stuffing children’s minds”, not allowing their hands, brains and souls to atrophy. Here was Modi speaking the same language, using the opportunity to “charge his battery”. And it was an audience that was carefully selected to show the excellence of non-elite government schools, from Kendriya Vidyalayas to Navodaya Vidyalayas.
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi found the standard of primary education UP “very weak”. “There is a need for qualitative improvement in the standard of education for which everyone will have to work together. Some of the Teachers who attended the function said Rahul noted that he has found the standard of primary education in Uttar Pradesh to be very weak during his tours of the state. He said, “Good teachers do not create doctors or engineers, but good human beings, lauding the ‘guru-shishya parampara’ (teacher-student tradition). Teachers are the torch bearers of the society and they never retire, but render their services throughout their lives. Rahul also felicitated 34 teachers of his constituency and presented them with shawls and mementos.
Both the celebrations were worth noticing, one was extravagant and the other was among the people but as simple as the people of this country.