Tag Archive | teaching

Child beggar in the Contour of Knowledge

Girl beggarBirthdays are always exciting; all the more for students. College life cannot be full without birthday parties. Today I went to a birthday celebration in a popular hangout in BHU campus, Varanasi. All students gathered one after another and were eagerly waiting to have the cake cut. As we were waiting for one more student to join us we were alarmed to see a group of students who were walking towards us. I got afraid and thought to myself if they were coming to attack us telling that cake does not belong to our native culture and we are to be hanged! I was wondering if DJ night incident will repeat with IIT students. Certain friends were murmuring that these students look like the inmates of Birla hostel who according to them were responsible for all turmoil in BHU & IIT.

All of us gave a sigh of relief as we noted that they were not walking towards us nor were they to harm us. But we could see an unwelcomed visitor in our midst. She inquired when the cake would be cut and she needs some. As I closely gazed at her I found that she has not clothed well and seemed to be a minor. As she started begging to a passerby, I could understand that she was a beggar. My interaction with her revealed that she stays with her mother and 3 siblings in a nearby place. She replied in negative for my question if she goes to school. She continued that she would continue begging as long as she lives. It was time for us to cut the cake; and two more similar children came. Others much younger to her and were selling balloons.

This was not the first time I see kids begging in BHU and IIT. It is like being in deep water for BHU when it comes to restrict general public into BHU . People from nearby villages come to collect grass, BHU main roads are used to commute by the settlers who stay in and around BHU. Also BHU attracts pilgrims to its Vishwanath temple. Though restricting general public may be difficult in the present scenario I think strong measures has to be taken to counter begging inside BHU campus or any campus for that matter.

Begging inside a campus that promotes knowledge is an oxymoron. University is a place where ideas are supposed to be generated, issues in the mainstream universe gets solved and progress of the universe is visualized. Presence of such social evil in such institutions would tarnish the sanctity of the institution and the very purpose of education. We are kept in dark as to these children are encouraged to beg due to the predicament of the family or are remain as the victims of child trafficking racket. University has to take up a project wherein these children are properly studied and measures being taken to ensure their education and minimum support mechanism for the dependents if any. Leaving such children as they are is costly. We are encouraging a generation of beggars. On the other hand we may also be indirectly opening avenues for theft.

Why is it that a temple of knowledge is not affected by children begging in its own institution? Why universities to which the nation look for solutions harbor such evil in themselves? Are universities becoming hypocritical? Is our education system being reduced to skill development and employers producing machines which has nothing to do with the deeper questions of the society? Can some BHU students join together and voice to the administration and bring shine in the face of the ones who beg?

Birthday girl cut the cake; Friends enjoyed. Will this birthday and this encounter with child beggars open our eyes and  encourage us to do something so that these begging children can celebrate their birthday with dignity?

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Teaching: Trade or Calling

Teaching: Trade or Calling

Very happy teachers to all teachers.

Teachers deserve special honour. The role of teachers is a much respected one in Asian traditions. Guru (Teacher?) – Sishya (Disciple) relation is a key that we can see very much in Asian traditions. I am very happy to have studied in a university (BHU) where Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the vice chancellors whose birthday is being celebrated all over India as Teacher’s Day.p

According to Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a teacher “must be a committed man, committed to faith in the future of man, in the future of humanity, in the future of the country and the world.” The profession of a teacher “should not be reduced to a trade; it is a calling, a vocation, a mission.” Teachers, according to Dr. Radhakrishnan, must impart to the students “zest for new experience, love for adventure in knowledge.” Love of the pupils is therefore the first essential quality of a teacher. Teachers must try to understand their pupils – their needs, their interests, their abilities, their wishes, their attitudes and their problems (qtd. in Shivendra. K. Verma, “Radhakrisnan’s Philosophy of Education,” The University News, Vol. 28, No. 19, p.3) .

Today I had the opportunity to interact with two leading Professors in India. They were using few terms to denote teachers of today: “settlers” and “committed to national development”. One of the eminent professors was telling that even after 20 years from today india may not be able to achieve significant progress in education if the trends in education does not improve significantly. He was mentioning about a group of teachers who are settlers. According to him they are not committed to their teaching. They will be teaching for the sake of doing. He also talked about nepotism, favoritism, casteism, politics and corruption that spoil this very noble profession. They are the ones who are a real threat for Dr. Radhakrishnan’s vision of a teacher as “a committed man, committed to faith in the future of man, in the future of humanity, in the future of the country and the world”. But he has also mentioned that there are still teachers who surpass beyond the settlers category and are committed teachers.

Many nations look to India with great expectations. Only when Dr. Radhakrishnan’s vision of teacher comes true India would be able to shine and be able to grow leaps and bounds. Our nation is full of celebrations. But sadly many good themes celebrated in different festivals are thought about and put into action only for a day when it is celebrated. On August 15th we become patriotic but we forget to work for the nation after the very next day. My only wish is that the vision of teacher by Dr. Radhakrishnan will not be a good lecture to be listened on September 5th but the one which will be put into practice by all teachers all day long.

As I end this short not on teacher’s day I recollect a verse from the Bible which says “ And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others.” For me this verse is very encouraging as this verse talks about God’s unique help to teachers in imparting skills and knowledge.

May God bless all teachers with special skill to impart skill and knowledge!