Who is a Teacher?
For most of us,the early Secondary School Teachers may be in our memory for life long..as they are the ones who wd have moulded us to our present status ,wherever w are,even if we become the Governor of Reserve Bank One day!
Recently I happened to meet a classmate of mine,who has risen to the level of a High Court Judge..
The first thing he asked me was
“Suri,can you believe me that ‘I’ too have become a High Court Judge..All Credit to your father..!”
I shed tears as I know him as a boy of rupturous behaviour and my father used to severely punish some students like him, if they misbehave ,including beating as it was an ‘accepted norms by Teachers’ in those days!
He has changed over a period and he said
“I used to call on him whenever he was in Madras for the Legislative council Meetings(my father was an M.L.C.,)and he continued to advise me to focus on becoming an able Lawyer when I was in the Law college!I owe him this position”he said.
I was totally moved!
When a few Alumini of our School of Class of 71 got together in Ramnad to a Reunion with their families,last year,they were all in praise of their aasaan(Teacher)
I was requested to handover to each one of them(around 150!)a trophy with Their beloved Teacher’s Photo(as can be seen below)..
One Tahsildar’s speech moved me to tears.
He said “I am now a Tahsildar.I studied under my Guru,between 1965 to 1971 in this school.I have taken many beatings from him and if I am a Honest Tahslidar in this very place it is because of him…”
There was another older Teacher who was also honoured along with other Old Headmasters,Teachers,on that day.This Teacher said
“How I was trained by Shri Rajah Iyer to prepare students for the science talent contests..One of the students is now is in NASA..I am proud of this school..”He said and later I came to know he is the father of the Minister in Tamil Nadu ,Gokula Indira!
A Teacher,according to me is an unbiased ,open hearted soul,sent by God as a Messnger .After so many years I wish to reveal how a very honest Teacher cum Headmaster ,my father,was a very strict man even if it means something to his own son or daughter.
One of my sisters ,despite her very hard work,was unable to get good marks.She was in her 8th Std when the examns were over and Krishnaiyer,hesitatingly came to my father with the corrected papers.
My father “Why Krishnaiyer.. have you completed the corection,have recommended the Passes to 9th Std or not?”
“Your daughter..he gave the papers..”
My father had a look and laughed..
“She has to do 8th Std one more year!”
“Sir..Rule is a Rule..for all”
My father had all the powers in that entire State in Education but he wdn’t misuse it for personal Gains!
This time my father hesitated a bit..
In front of all he called my sister…
“You are not going to school anymore..”
I ,Krisnaiyer,my mother all got a shock and my Grandma tried to intervene for which my father smilingly said
“Look for a nice Varan..Thats better for her!”
I have never seen him deviating from rules for anyone..Never…
All the Princes,Princesses of Sethupathis studied under my father and Late Ramanatha Sethupathi was my father’s student too..Later when he assumed charge as Rajah of Ramnad he continued his reverence to his Headmaster..
He fought a case for a property in Cenotaph Road which was given away by Late Shanmuga Raja Sethupathi and he fought the case that the will was illegal,as Late Rajah had written it when he was ‘Not in his proper mental frame of mind’(Unstable!)
The case went on for a period and there was no end when suddenly the defense side,(a Lady to whom it was bequeathed)agreed to accept whatever
‘Mr.Rajah Iyer says if he is called in as a witness!My father was in Ramnad going for a walk every day with Ramanatha Sethupathi & when this happened ..my father politely told Ramanatha Sethupathi..
“I can’t tell a lie,espcially at this age!”
The vedict went against him but because of my father’s influence she came for a share in that property with Ramanatha Sethupathi…
When my father passed away in 1974,Ramnad gave an unbelievabale 3 days of Mourning..All party flags were at Half Mast!The Municipality arranged a Truck to carry the mortal remains to the Mortuary..
Ramanatha Sethupathi was one of the Pall Bearers to keep the Body on the truck..
It took 6 Hrs to the mortuary which was just 2 KMs from our house,as almost all villagers have thronged to Ramnad to have a glimpse of thir Beloved