My favourite teacher: Random thoughts
– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Do people have favorite teachers?
I would rush to say that as a self made person I am my own teacher, favorite or otherwise, and I don’t wish to consider anybody else as my favourite teacher. That view would indeed be highly individualistic and in fact a selfish approach to one’s own life. That amounts to negation of truth.
As a student I perhaps had many favorite teachers certainly more than one. But we small boys never discussed those issues. I looked upon teachers as very precious people born to help children like me.
You will agree with me that that is not a genuine understanding of one’s life. We have learned a lot of good and bad things from the society, from the people around and in the school itself.
Teachers from school to university help us with the proper and genuine development of our character. This very crucial task of character building exercises cannot be done by our parents or friends because parents upbring children in their “colorful” ways so that their sweet children become big guys and important ladies, with or without genuine understanding of life that helps in them mould strong character.
It is likely at times that a few parents also try to mould the character and positive mindset of their children but very often than not they do not succeed and they invariably fail to train or make any lasting impact on their own children like what teachers do.
Unfortunately, the parents negatively influence their children because they do not have any genuine rapport and therefore keep quarreling, abuse one another, insult one another, thereby making their children feel insecure. This is because they lack the necessary parental aptitudes. At times by showering over-affection on the little children and refusing to punish their wrong doings, mistakes parents in fact spoil them in their early life itself. That is indeed harmful for the future of children. News reports let us know that some misguided parents force chidden to run away, to commit crimes, to commit suicide. That is cruel.
Even if one teacher is bad, misbehaves and negative in attitudes towards life and education and in relations with pupils, there are many teachers there to help the little children mold their character.
When I think of spotting my best or favourite teacher, frankly, I don’t get any particular teacher in the role, maybe because I am also a teacher trying to communicate with a large section of common people.
But believe me what comes to my mind quickly when such questions rise is entire my university life in New Delhi altogether that may have molded me into what I am, if at all, capable of today.
Jawaharlal Nehru University, or in short JNU, remains my lifeline and that multidisciplinary institution by and large could be my favorite teacher if I have to concede. Conversely, had I not been a student and teacher of JNU perhaps, please trust me, I would have been different, may be a useless human being.
Generally speaking, plenty of officals in Indian Administrative Services, Foreign Services and Police Services belong to JNU. I keep JNU in high esteem not because of that. Of course, I am not unhappy that I am not one among them. Frankly, I am not as intelligent, hard working or studious as they are and so I can’t compare me with them. After getting enrolled for a master’s or research program at JNU they spent most of their time at JNU preparing for administrative services or trying to go abroad for higher studies or work. I wonder if these hardworking youth focus on their studies for which they take admissions at JNU, possibly the quality of university education and research would have gone up considerably, taking JNU to the level of many high standard western institutions. But then India also needs good administrators to help central and state governments run the governance as smoothly as desirable. .
When I unambiguously declare JNU as my best teacher of life, by no means I say other institutions with which I have been fortunate to be associated with either as students/researcher or teacher. Obviously I benefited greatly from my studies or service or both with institutions from primary school to university.
A little Girl’s primary school very close to my house where I began my educational life with no family educational background without enough books, food and proper clothing and then the VKP High School not far way of my house and later Laskhmirpuram College of Arts and Sciences which was 3 miles walking distance – all gave me lessons on life I practiced after that at JNU. In fact, in JNU I was first recognized as a useful person.
I need to mention here that quite a lot of teachers from primary school right up to university were fond of me and really helped me come over difficulties. Some of them are warm people. I prefer avoiding names here because the list would have been too long.
Indian institutions like IGNOU, Mysore University, CIEFL (now EFLU), Uniferro International Limited did influence greatly my life. They made me human, helped me live with some sort of dignity. They honored me by degrees, diplomas, certificates, doctorates, etc. My education at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow had a deep impact on my perceptions of life.
In fact, not just conventional educational institutions that contributed to my swings in my life patterns. Sermons in Mosque, Church and other religious discourse also may have shaped my world views, although I may not have changed much in any sense of the term.
The surroundings, journeys, among other constructive studies could have improved my understanding of life and people. That is indeed highly impressive development. Recently I was listening to some film music and the lyric by poet Kannadasan impressed me much for his philosophical ideas that are conveyed in fine music tunes. I feel I am just nobody, or maybe a small fry in a very large ocean of talented people.
It is not how much successful I am in life at this point of time. But I am fully satisfied with my title life. Those who know my early school and college life would testify the pivotal importance of my grandmother in my life and without her I would not have gone beyond 7th class- seriously!
Fate has always been ruthless with me; it never allowed me to be a good human to others, to myself. .