I come from a teacher’s family. My grandfather was teacher all his life, and for me, a ‘Guru’ in real sense for everything that is good in me. It was he who taught me to respect my teachers. And I did that in school, college, and IIT. Even today I feel the teachers must consider themselves a different class, the real Brahmans in true sense. The memories of the first teacher of my village school- Sri Ganga Dayal Pandey, Sri Kishori Mohan Roy Choudhry of Birlapur Vidyalaya, Prof. Tara Pada Mukherji of Presidency College, Prof. BR Seth, Prof.R. Misra, and Prof. Laxshmi Narayan of IIT, Kharagpur are still vivid.
But on this day, I can’t but pay homage to Professor HS Sabaharwal of Ujjain who was recently assaulted due to student politics and ultimately died. I don’t know much about him but I salute him as he belonged to the community of teachers. The death (murder?) of professor H S Sabharwal during student union polls on August 26 has raised this question in my mind. Why should this training in democracy be continued in the educational institutes just following some western concepts? Why can’t the student bodies be one like the Gymkhana of IIT, Kharagpur? Why can’t the affiliation of student groups to political parties be banned?
And then how can I forget Prof Seyfarth? I remember him on this day. I don’t know who all of the family (in photograph) are where. He was my teacher in the final year 1960-61 in IIT, Kharagpur, and head of ‘Machine Design’ that I was specializing in. he was one of some American professors who came in IIT, Kharagpur that year, perhaps in exchange programme. Their method of teaching was different, and the way of assessment was different. Perhaps all that suited my temperament for learning. In the first semester of the final year, I topped the class. Prof Mulgaonkar was the head. He expressed his surprise when he was announcing the ranks. I was also surprised. But that made me dear to Prof. Seyfarth and Prof. Fellows who taught thermodynamics. And they live in my memory till date. As I think, they were from Illinois Institute of Technology. I wish they are alive and someone could give me some information. And in my next visit to US I could visit them.
I wish and appeal that the parents must do their best to inculcate in their children a respect for teachers without which all that their children will attain will be useless.