Today, September 5th, is Teacher´s Day in India, the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
Dr. Radhakrishnan was a Professor of Philosophy in the University of Calcutta, a Professor in Oxford and other universities, then the Rector of the University of Delhi and the Indian Ambassador to Russia until 1962 when he was elected the second Prime Minister of India. A keen student of the philosophy and relationships among different religions, he built a bridge between Eastern and Western thought. He was a great philosopher, an educator and humanista, a model of those deserving honour and respect. For this reason his birth is commemorated on Teacher´s Day.
In our Akshay School we also remembered Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.
Jyotiba Phule was a social reformer and thinker of the XIXth century who led the movement against caste restrictions in India. He stood up to the dominating orthodox Brahmins and fought for the rights of farm workers and the lower castes. He was also a pioneer supporter of education for women in India and struggled all his life for the education of girls. He opened the first school for girls in India in 1851 and in 1854 opened the first orphanage too. He fought all his life for the freedom of the “untouchables” from the oppression of the Brahmins, the abolition of the “untouchable” class and the caste system itself.
Savitribai Phule, a social reformer who, together with her husband Jyotiba Phule, fought against caste and gender discrimination. With her husband she founded the first school for girls and was the first female teacher. She wrote numerous poems against discrimination and in favor of education. She is an important figure as a social reformer in Maharastra.
Savitribai Phule and Jyotiba Phule together with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar became the icons of the dalits or untouchables, in favor of equality but against oppression and the caste system.
We have celebrated today by remembering the legacy of these three people through videos and honouring all teachers, especially our own school teachers. The children of the Akshay and the Shanti Niketan schools have prepared a programme of dances and songs to show their thanks to all of them.
A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the teachers of our schools for their patience and generosity and for showing affection to the children in their classes.
On this day I would like all teachers to remember what being a teacher means, to continue to re-discover the essence of your profession and to transmit to every one that passion which should always be with you when you give a class. May you have a positive attitude that the children are eager to copy and may you not become contaminated by those who forget the magic of this profession. When the children or their parents see you approach, may they say with respect and the admiration your profession deserves: “Here comes OUR TEACHER” ; for from this profession emanate and are born all other professions, contributing to make our world a better place.