A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops
“Watch the genesis of thought patterns” he told me over the phone. Over the years, the professor has been teaching and imbibing his thought processes and teaching methods on me. Mathematics to Slokas, the Indian story with it’s nuances and richness. Hawkings, Newton discussed while watching sunsets from hill tops.
Where is your name in the book, I had asked him last year, on seeing a book of essays on political science , which clearly showed that it was his work. A year before that, we had sat together at the Lodhi tombs of Delhi, one quiet early winter evening and he had told me about Whiggism and it’s parallels in the Indian freedom movement.
“My presence in the book is like that sun in the photograph you once gave me, hidden by the trees, giving light, showing it’s presence but not seen directly.”
Going back a few years, on a walking through the alleys of the Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi, he had told me.
“I do not teach the students how to solve the theorem. I show them the genesis of the theorem. The solution they can find in any guide book. The role and task of the teacher is to show the students the genesis of thought.” He has set a high standard for himself.
Pythagoras, Aryabhatt, Kalidas, Shakespeare, Lenin, Gandhi all blend into this multifaceted academic.
“What do you think of George Bernard Shaw” he had challenged me one day, over a decade ago, when I used to be very heady and opinionated.
“It has been a long journey for me” he said, recalling his childhood days on the banks of one of the tributaries feeding the Ganga, in the hills beyond Rishikesh, where the waters are at times just a small stream flowing amidst the mighty mountains. Trickling down, slowly but steadily over kilometers and decades, one finds an edifice inspiring and educative.
He is one of the persons who first taught me the joys of reading groups and making small notes from interesting things one has read. We would sit together and study Enid Blyton together, in Pune cantonment.
The habit of keeping those small notebooks has developed over the decades, and added profound richness.