Has the modern world of education blindfolded us only with the negative side of teaching? Has it overshadowed the work of ancient teachers, who have brick-by-brick built a foundation of a strong educational world of India? Maybe. Maybe, the news we hear of exponentially growing school fees has blindfolded us of inspirational teachers, who are selflessly educating children.
We have curated a list of 10 contemporary and veteran teachers, who have transformed the face of education in India. Scroll through:
Chanakya was an ancient scholar, who is known for his intellectual way of living life. Apart from serving as a royal advisor to King Chandragupta Maurya, he has also served as a Political Science and Economics professor at the Takshila University. For Chanakya, nothing was ever above education. “Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth,” is one of his famous quotes that prove that knowledge was everything to him. His teachings were forever recorded in his two books, namely, Arthsashtra and Chanakya Niti.
2. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was one of the 20th century’s most-renowned scholars. After completing his education at Madras Christian College, he became Assistant Professor and later Professor of Philosophy at Madras Presidency College followed by Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mysore. He is also the first Indian to hold a professorial chair at the University of Oxford. He helped majorly at bridging the gap between India and Western countries. He lived his life following the ideology, “A true teacher is one who helps us think for ourselves”. Independent India’s first vice president, India fondly remembers and celebrates him ever year on 5th of September, his birth anniversary, as National Teacher’s Day.
3. Savitribai Jyotirao Phule
Savitribai Jyotirao Phule, along with her husband, started the first women’s school in Pune, Maharashtra, in the year 1981. She relentlessly fought for the right of education for women and raised her voice against inequality and injustice. Hence, she is also considered as the first Indian female reformist. After the successful run of her first girls’ school, she and her husband built many more in the state of Maharashtra. Savitribai served as a teacher and principal for many of those schools. She said and lived by these words: “Awake, arise and educate. Smash traditions- Liberate!” The University of Pune is known as Savitribai Phule Pune University, as a sign of respect towards her contribution.
4. Swami Vivekanand
Swami Vivekanand is known to take forward and preserve the culture of the Gurukul system, wherein the teachers and students live together, in India. A man known for his unparalleled intellect had founded Ramakrishna Mission, a monastery in which monks and his followers join hands to spread the awareness of Practical Vedanta. Like Chanakya, Swami Vivekanand instilled teachings of how to deal with testing times of life in his students. He also believed and constantly made his students believe that every human is born and blessed with infinite potential. His famous quote on this thought is, “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in men.”
5. Munshi Premchand
Dhanpat Rai Shrivastav, known by his pen name Mushi Premchand, is known for his contribution to modern Hindustani literature as a prominent Hindi writer. He has written over 300 short stories, over 10 novels, and a certain number of plays. His work was so influential and loved that two of Bollywood’s famous director’s, Satyajit Ray, movies were based on his works. A respected teacher in Uttar Pradesh’s Chunnar, Premchand was influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekanand.
6. Vinoba Bhave
Vinayak Narahai “Vinoba” Bhave was an advocate of human rights and non-violence in the 1900s and is considered as the National Teacher of India. He created the Brahma Vidya Mandir, an ashram serving as a small community for women for them to become self-sufficient and non-violent. He was honoured with the title ‘Acharya’ (teacher) and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1958 for his contribution in humanitarian work.
7. Vimla Kaul
Unhappy with the quality of education provided at government schools, Vimla Kaul started her own school to teach the underprivileged in a 4-room apartment in the year 1993. And, she continues to do so even today at the age of 81. Her school is called Guldasta, which was jointly run by her husband until his death in 2009.
8. Babar Ali
At the age of 16, Babar Ali started a school in Murshidabad, West Bengal, for poor children while he himself was still in school. Now, when he is 24, his school has a count of 800 children and 10 teachers. It’s a tuition-fees-free school, making it affordable for the poor.
9. Bharti Kumari
There is clearly no age to become the head of a school. Bharti, being a student herself, started a school for her village and nearby children just at the age of 12 in 2010 and became the title-holder of ‘youngest headmistress.’ Her school is in Kusumbhara, 87 miles away from Patna, where she teaches English, Hindi and Maths to children under a mango tree apart from attending school herself.
10. Anand Kumar
On average, 90% of his students are enrolled in IITs. Anand Kumar, a bright student himself, is a passionate teacher, who doesn’t teach for money but to support those students who're deserving and belong to the underprivileged class. He hones his students’ skills in his own unorthodox ways and is so inspiring that recently, an entire movie was made on his life documenting how he left a high-paid coaching institute job to start his own coaching centre with bare minimum money. Today, his institution teaches selected 30 poor kids and prepares them for IIT-JEE entrance examinations. His Super-30 program started in 2000 and by the year 2015, 391 of 450 students could successfully get qualified for the premier institute.
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