“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
If there was one powerful tool that a person can give to another, it is without a doubt, education.
Education is the elixir of life. Without education,all of our lives would have been cast into a terrible darkness called ignorance. Education has given us the ability to judge people, things and situations. It has given us the sense of reasoning and questioning to better understand the world around us.
As much as it is important to thank our parents for giving us the opportunity to be educated, it is equally important to thank our teachers as well.
On Teachers Day, it’s time to remember those who fought against odds to teach us and in the process shaped our minds, thoughts and lives altogether.
Here are 5 famous Indian teachers who more than just shaped our lives
1.Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
The man himself, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan whose birthday we celebrate as “Teachers Day” was one teacher who more than just influenced the lives of his students. Dr. Radhakrishnan, in spite of his humble beginnings rose to become the country’s first Vice-President and only the second President.
During his schooldays Radhakrishnan had to face opposition from his father to learn English and become a scholar. He however overcame them and completed graduation mostly through merit scholarships. He was one of the most distinguished scholars of philosophy in the 20th century. As a President, Dr Radhakrishnan earned the reputation of being a bridge builder between India and the West.
When a few of his students approached him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, he was keen on them celebrating it as Teachers Day. From that day in 1962 till today, every year the 5th of September is celebrated as National Teachers Day.
- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
The missile man of India as he was fondly called, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was a true visionary and an asset to the country. A scientist turned politician, Dr. Kalam was popularly known as “People’s President” during his 5-year tenure as the President of India. He however, refused a second tenure only to return back to teaching profession.
Recalled by many, Dr. Abdul Kalam was extremely fond of teaching and interacting with students. Many a times he was quoted as saying that the future of India lies in the hands of its youth. He devoted his life to imparting education and knowledge to the younger generation. Even during the time of his death, Dr. Kalam was addressing a student gathering at IIM-Shillong. He collapsed on stage midway through his speech and died.
The most celebrated scientist of India had no material possessions except for 6 pants, 4 shirts and 2,500 books. He was a true teacher and guide in every sense of the word.
- Savitribhai Phule
The country’s first female teacher, Savitribhai Phule broke all stereotypes to provide education to the masses. She was the one credited with opening the first school for girls in India.
Faced with backlashes from her community and village, Savitribhai remained unfazed and opened more schools for girls. She also dealt with untouchability and widow remarriage issues during her time as a teacher. She not just shaped lives of people, but also shaped thoughts and communities.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Nobel Literature Prize Laureate and composer of India’s National Anthem (“Jana Gana Mana”), Rabindranath Tagore gave his greatest gift to education as Visva-Bharati University which he established in Santiniketan.
Tagore in addition to teaching academics, taught life lessons and emotional lessons to students in his University. To impart open learning, he held classes underneath trees in the open. Such was his passion for teaching that Tagore put the entire prize money he received for his Nobel Prize into the University’s development. Today, Visva-Bharati University is one of India’s most reputed universities.
- Asima Chatterjee
The first woman to be accredited a Doctor of Science by an Indian University, Asima Chatterjee was an organic chemist best known for her work on cancer and anti-malarial drugs.
Dr. Chatterjee spent most of her years devising medicines and cures for incurable diseases. As a professor from the University of Calcutta, she inspired a generation of young girl students to take up research and break free from the traditional constraints of being branded a woman.