Professors Amal Chakraborty (from right) and CP Singh along with former vice chancellor HK Lal at their felicitation at Ranchi University on Thursday on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Teachers of yesteryear could change lives with the right mix of chalk and challenges. In present times, that gift is missing, feels a motley crowd of mentors in their autumn years.
Ranchi University (RU) — one of the oldest academic institutions of undivided Bihar and now Jharkhand — felicitated 78 of its erstwhile professors and administrators on Thursday to mark Teachers’ Day, the birth anniversary of Indian philosopher and statesman Dr S. Radhakrishnan.
While there was a surge of nostalgia as the septuagenarians and octogenarians exchanged pleasantries among each other, dejection over a “flawed” government education system and “shallow commitment” of present-day teachers was greatly palpable too.
Addressing the gathering at the RU auditorium in Morabadi, retired IAS officer, professor and former varsity registrar Narendra Bhagat said gone were the times when students and teachers shared a healthy relationship. “Things are very different now,” he said, adding, “However, this is a moment of great happiness. Today, I meet many old friends with whom I share equal temper.”
Currently pushing 70, Bhagat had joined RU as a student in 1961 and became a reader in the Seventies, when the varsity was going through “turbulent times”. He later cracked civil services and returned as the registrar of his alma mater. On Thursday, he released his book — Turbulent Times of Ranchi University — to tell untold stories of this varsity.
Sincerity personified even at 78, professor Amal Chakraborty expressed his displeasure over the education system today. “In our times, teachers were dedicated. In the present day, most are not,” he told The Telegraph.
Chakraborty said education had become a profitable business. “In the past, teachers taught in an extempore without books or notes. They were knowledgeable and their teaching was engrossing. Today, such wisdom and passion is so missing here (at RU),” he said.
The professor added that when HRD minister Geetashree Oraon — who did the felicitation honours — sought his blessings, he advised her to ensure that the coalition government forwarded academic needs of the state.
Economics mentor Mukhlal Singh (80), who taught incumbent RU vice chancellor L.N. Bhagat, agreed with Chakraborty. “This varsity was meant to churn out future leaders, which can only happen if there is all-round development in academics, co-curricular activities and positive political activism,” he said.
History professor C.P. Singh (80) too saw the difference between then and now. “Education was interaction-based earlier. Today, it is Internet-based. Naturally, there is little to cement the teacher-student bond. Change is permanent. We only hope this change is for good,” he said.
Besides the HRD minister, HRD secretary D.K. Tiwary, RU V-C Bhagat and other varsity officials graced the occasion.
Do you think the teacher-pupil bond is strong today?