“One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.”
Teaching is among the noblest and enriching professions in the world and has been here since ancient times. It is a profession that enlightens a whole nation – leading them towards prosperity. A teacher takes a child by the hand, opens their mind with wisdom, and touches their heart with empathy. We all must have had that one teacher in our life who must have been one of the biggest reason in shaping your present.
India has a rich history in the field of education, it was one of the major learning hubs in the world, and people from different countries would come here to gain wisdom. We have seen some great teachers who made a mark in the world by contributing on emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. They transformed people, ignited societies, and brought intellectual revolutions pushing India towards betterment and prosperity. Of all the great souls, here we are listing down the names of top five teachers in the history of India:-
1. Dr. Sarveppali Radhakrishnan
Let us start with the man whose birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s day in India. He was the first Vice President and second President of Independent India. He was a teacher at Madras Presidency College where he gained tremendous recognition as a teacher for teaching the most difficult concepts of philosophy with ease. He put a lot of focus on the spiritual education of children. His work on Advaita Philosophy is remarkable. He successfully fought the western criticism of Indian Philosophy. Once when few students asked him, how do you wish we celebrate your birthday? He answered, instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be a great privilege if September 5 is observed as Teacher’s Day. It is probably his great works as a teacher, scholar, politician, and scholar that made him immortal in the history of our country.
True teachers are those who help us think for ourselves – Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
2. Rabindranath Tagore
As a teacher, Rabindranath Tagore was a man who was well ahead of his times. In fact, we will go out on a limb and say that the way Indian education system functions, his ideas and educational philosophies are ahead of our present times as well. Home-educated, he was somewhat averse to formal education and instead encouraged learning by doing. His methods included teaching through tours and trips, narration-cum-discussion and debate method, heuristic method etc.
He devoted special attention to the education of children. In his opinion, a child has a large and vivid imagination which must not be tied to the vagaries of formal education which might restrict his growth.
He had a unique perception on education which he summed up in the following words,
“To read without thinking is like accumulating building materials without actually building anything. Education should knock at the doors of the mind. If any boy is asked to give an account of what is awakened in him by such knocking, he will probably say something silly. For what happens within is probably much bigger than what comes out in words. Those who pin their faiths in University exams, as the test of education takes no account of this.”
His contributions to the field of education and literature surely make him one of the great teachers India has produced.
3. Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam
Popularly known as the Missile Man, Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam was one of the most beloved President and greatest scientists of Modern India. He was a huge advocate of education and believed that it is a necessity for human development. He emphasized the development of personal skills as he was of the firm opinion that getting a mere degree won’t help in crafting a quality life. He worked as a scientist at DRDO and ISRO contributing immensely in making India a nuclear power. He was a guest lecturer in prestigious educational institutions like IIM Ahmedabad, Shillong, and Indore. He also taught at IIT Hyderabad, Benaras Hindu University, and Anna University. He was lecturing the students in IIM, Shillong, during the last moments of his life until death finally conquered him.
His life is an excellent testimony on what he said, “Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”
4. Savitri Bai Phule
Savitri Bai Phule is one of the greatest icons of social reformation in British India. She was the female teacher of India’s first women school. She along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule gave their all for the cause of girl education in India. In, 1948, she founded the country’s first Girls School in Pune which was a revolutionary step at that period considering the kind of society we were and how bad it treated its women. Stones and cow dung were thrown at her for the efforts she took, but that didn’t stop her from working towards her mission. She was also a notable poet and founder of modern Marathi Poetry and was one of the first feminists of modern India. She was a crusader for the rights of women and worked towards the betterment for which was also honored by the British government.
Chanakya also known as Kautilya was an Indian teacher, philosopher and royal advisor to Chandragupta Maurya, King of Magadh Empire (largest empire in medieval India). He is undoubtedly one of the best teachers and master strategists the world ever witnessed.
Chanakya was a poor Brahmin (a caste in India who were engaged in attaining highest spiritual knowledge). He was introduced to the Nanda king, the rulers of Magadh empire before Maurya Dynasty. He was insulted in front of thousands after which he swore that he would destroy the whole Nanda dynasty and establish a new ruler. Using his supreme knowledge, he single-handedly brought down the whole Nanda empire and made a young boy named Chandragupta the new King after which he continued to serve the Maurya dynasty as an advisor.
He also wrote two books which are highly regarded as the greatest work in Economics and Politics. These books are “Arthashastra” and “Neetishastra” which discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare and international relations, and war strategies in detail.
It is always a great experience to sneak into the rich culture of our country and read about legends who were one of the best teachers in their prime. They transformed lives and impacted the society at such deep level that they are an inspiration to teachers and students alike to this day. The lives they lived and the work they did continues to inspire.
Who amongst these five legends do you think is the best teacher India ever had? Do let us know your answers and also share the name of your favorite teacher in the comment section.
If you are sharing it on Facebook or LinkedIn, do tag your favorite teacher in the comment section to make them feel special on this auspicious day.