How the teaching changed over time! There was a time when children were sent to ‘gurus’ for education. Even the princely had to abandon the life of riches to live in ‘gurukul’ where they were taught by the gurus. Most of us have read about ‘Dronacharya’ the famous teacher who taught the ‘Kauravas’ and ‘Pandavas’ in the epic Mahabharat. He was chosen as the teacher by ‘ Bhishma’ who was the grandfather of Kauravas and Pandavas after he had performed the feat of collecting a ball from the well where the children were playing by his ring and blades of grass, using them as spears! The great teacher had a soft corner for Arjun the warrior and thus asked ‘Eklavya’ to severe his thumb as ‘guru dakshina’ as he had learnt the skill of archery from Dronacharya on the sly!
Parshuram was another great teacher known for his fiery temper who had vowed to annihilate the “kshatriyas’( warriors) who lived in the times of Ramayana as well as Mahabharat. He was the teacher of Dronacharya as well as Lord Rama! Parshuram and Agastya are considered to be the father of ‘Kalaripayattu’ the oldest form of martial arts.
Teaching is a noble profession and the credit for grooming the future generations goes to them. In countries like United States, the best universities hold all the teaching fraternity in a very high esteem. The close coordination exists between the industry and the top universities to pursue the research and results thereof are well known! The annual event of Nobel prizes is dominated by US and western world where the academic accomplishments are not only recognized but given the due place in society.
There was a time when universities like Nalanda (near Patna) and Taxila(near Rawalpindi) were considered to be world renowned seats of learning. With the passage of time commercialization has taken over everything else in our country! Those who can afford prefer to send the children to schools that have air conditioned classes and buses to provide comfort to the students! The engineering and medical degrees can be virtually purchased at a price and likewise for other professions. The only saving grace is that small number of government colleges for professional studies still go by merit for selecting the students. Other shops only sell education to the highest bidders who in turn want to recover their investment in double quick time when they have acquired the degree.
I have lovely memories of the time spent in school that had the best of teachers who inculcated the deep desire to learn, read and write! I was fortunate to have never attended a single tuition class besides the time spent in school! It pains to see even the tiny tots attending such classes after school what to say about those preparing for entering portals of higher education! Somewhere we have forgotten to strike a balance between the need and desire. Our generation is fortunate to have seen and heard the great teachers like Dr S Radhakrishnan and Dr Zakir Hussain. Hope the address of the new prime minister to the nation fosters the spirit of learning and herald a new era in education!
PS: Image Kind Courtesy Google