In this article, I do not plan to write about what Teachers’ day is or its significance or anything about Dr. Radhakrishnan. Keeping aside those data and information, I just thought to pen down my own feelings about my teachers and the days of my student life.
Today I was at my daughter’s school to celebrate the occasion with her and her friends. In her not so long life of nine years, she has observed this day in the last few years but this was the first time I happened to be with her.
While watching the cultural program arranged by the students for their loving teachers I was unknowingly transported to my own childhood not because of anything related to me but for my teachers. Along with the teachers, came up the school in totality on the canvas. I could very well see all my teachers vividly starting from my first school days of Sarojvasini Sishu Bhavan to my secondary school, Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith Purulia.
While Sarojvasini Sishu Bhavan and Sunil sir, Acharya sir, Jayanta sir, Head sir, Bardi mani and gatekeeper Nepal da all helped me to sow the seeds of my life, Birbhum Zilla school with Head sir, Sibnath Sir and others helped the sapling to grow. Ultimate realization of student life however came only during my hostel life in Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith, Purulia, about which we all, the supposed “Vivek Dynamites”, are proud of. (http://rkmvalumni.org/) . I still see all of them moving around me as if the events happened just yesterday, frame by frame, not having aged by the time and remaining as lively as ever. The absolutely majestic buildings, the vast stretches of playgrounds, the ever beautiful rose garden tended by Kalidas da, and the cool shadows of mighty trees protecting us from the Sun, they are part of my inner being, have been ingrained in the soul. Our school was blessed by the midas touch of many scholars in the field of arts like Sunil Pal, Ramkinkar Baiz, and Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, bearing testimony to the rich cultural and architectural heritage of India. The feel of touch by the bricks of those walls, the wet smell of soil of that land, the magnificence of the temple building – all still flow through my blood whenever I think about my childhood days. Being in a hostel and completely cut-off from the din and bustle of a city did not make us feel, even for a single moment, that we were being deprived of the pleasant things of life. We used to enjoy them in our own ways, be it watching the same movie (1942) again and again, the sports day celebrations in the company of P. K. Banerjee, or our very own drama performance on the 15th of august or the Janmashtami days.
Bengali lessons and stories from Phani da and Dilip da , Phonetics practices from Sushil da, history lessons from Asit da and Chandi da, all were top of the class by any standard. During story telling sessions, Phani da could keep the whole class silent in a jaw dropping suspense. Lakshmi da and Rakho da made Physics lessons as lucid as they could be whereas Bimal da, Ajay da, and Pankaj da effortlessly made Life science almost a part of daily life. During Panchanan da’s and Ashok da’s geography classes, we used to travel to many countries of the world through the pages of the ATLAS. There were so many great teachers in Mathematics, English, Physical Education, Work Education, Music, Drawing, Gardening and others that I am bound to miss at least some of them.
While recollecting my childhood I will now allow myself to look back my life as a student. After class VI, academically I came down a few rungs below the top but my tenure in RKMV Purulia from class VI to class X is the best part of my life. This is not because I enjoyed everything in the school but because of the overall atmosphere that used to prevail out there. Though I was not the most popular jock in the class, the gentle breeze along the campus, the fatherly affection oozing out of the teaching and the non-teaching staff, and the overall guidance and care from the Maharajas, brought a new lease of life in me since class VI. Class politics, as they call it, was very much there in the school and I indeed was at the receiving end a few times. As there are quite a few such unpleasant memories, I won’t say that I was perfectly happy all the time, but I was fortunate to acquire a place of my own in the class in many ways. The entire experience gave me some very useful and robust perspectives of life, some of which I still cherish even after so many days from student life.
Standing today, when I look back, I do feel that a few things could have been done differently. But I am not ready to exchange anything of that life with anything else either. I can go on writing about RKMV for a few more pages but would like to conclude now after a brief discussion of Swapan da. He was such a respected teacher by one and all that each and every boarder used to think that probably he was the best student of the class and got his maximum attention. Trying to inculcate a strong character in everyone in the model of Vivekanada, Swapan da gave all his life for Vidyapith and his students. His latest book, “Esocho Jyotirmoy” was his pronam towards Swamiji on his 150th Birth Anniversary. He has influenced and touched many a life in many ways and I salute him for his rock solid support to all of us sacrificing everything in his own life.
Long live Swapan da and all the other teachers who are still around.