Can We Be Mini’s father for a change?

tata capital 2

My niece Saraswati and sister Shyamala are negotiating a sari, it costs 26.000Rs. And here I am standing beside them. I am reminded of Marie Antoinette, here is a debate on blowing up 26000/Rs. on a sari to be draped once in the life time, and on the other hand Saraswati Mandir, would be satisfied with just half the amount to bring literacy to its 20 students.  The irony of it all.

Megma (W.Bengal) in the Indo Nepal border to me brings a picture of a peaceful Himalayan town 9, 9000 ft. Altitude.

The children of a forgotten populace, no media sees them nor do they make it to their reach out sob-stories like their more glamorous counterparts at the Tibetan borderteachersrs. Well, it is simply because these children are hoping skipping and entering their school, where Sri Chandrakanth Pradhan teaches them.

If you are imagining a “Mohobatein style”   posh corridors, air-conditioned rooms, well look again this is a humble 3-room school, run by a retired teacher.  Shaky benches faded and cracked blackboards and an infrastructure that threatens to crumble.  The teacher is not paid, yet he is there diligently present share his literacy with the smiling faced young ones.

Somewhere this imbalance makes me wonder, sometimes it makes me a little guilty to the support that Mr.Pradhan needs is

Rs.3500/ for black boards and

9000/ for stationary kits,

He does not provide an elaborate fancy budget no budgeting for his remuneration.  He is worried about the lack of nutrition in the children sometimes food is just not available. He says when food and survival are the issues child coming to school is great things.

the draconian teacher
There are teachers and teachers. And here is a teacher who in his 4th standard wrote that he wanted to be a rural school teacher lighting lives of children with literacy.

Latin Maxim states grammar speaks, dialects teach us truth; rhetoric gives colouring to our speech; music signs; arithmetic numbers; astronomy teaches us to know the stars — The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth—Dan Rather.

Over the years I have official teachers, and people from whom I have learnt. I can remember quite a few of them, the best ones and the worst ones. Those who I realize in retrospect have had good or bad influence on me.

At school I was the rebel, I refused to conform to the norms, I was curious and was quite unabashed about it, and I read a lot.  Along my reading I learnt that things had to be classified, so here is my classification of my teachers. The Draconian teacher a teacher who is rigorous, unusually severe or cruel, with draconian forms of punishment, they still live in my nightmare.  These teachers were equipped with shrill voices, wooden scales, and harsh words; they also had the capacity of carrying tales to the parents all in the name of doing well. In today’s world we would call they control freaks, our time we got away with under the breath epitaph of Hitler.
What we did learn from them is how to break rules, and circumvent hurdles without being caught.

Then is the hypocrite teacher this is the teacher who say things and not honour them. They would have one set of rules for the Lodges and another for the Cabot’s, the plebeians didn’t exist in their reckoning.

Then is the person I would call the Guru Edward Bulwer-Lytton identifies them as — the person who suggests rather than dogkabuliwallahmat
ize, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself, the purpose of this teacher is not create students in his own image but to develop students who can create their own image.

Working on this piece I realize that teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum of choice of text or special placement of students, the only autonomy they have is inside the classroom. This is something shared only by few other occupations like the police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.

How do I think this half story could change the lives of people it touches well I do not know, but I do wish the Kabuliwallah – experience  from Tagore’s kabuliwallah happens, do remember when the Kabuliwallah returns from jail to see Mini he realizes that his daughter would be old enough to be married off too, that moment the father in Mini’s father empathize with the kabuliwallah he cuts down the wedding extravagances to donate the money to the Kabuliwallah so that he could visit his daughter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: