Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated on 5th September as Teachers’ Day all across the country since 1962. Instead of celebrating his own birthday, the first Vice President of India and the second President of India requested everyone to celebrate his birthday as a day solely dedicated for the teachers and that would be the greatest birthday gift for him. Since then, we are celebrating Teachers’ Day on 5th September. In most schools, Teachers’ Day is usually celebrated by the students of the school with cultural functions, entertainment programs and other fun activities. This time it was different.
Synopsis of PM Modi’s Teachers Day speech
Just like 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed about 800 students along with 60 teachers from different schools in Delhi. During his speech and interaction with the students, he focussed on many points. He answered the questions asked by the students and took active interest in their queries. Some of the highlights of his speech are as follows:
- He showed concern about the teaching profession and told the students the importance of teachers in their lives. He said that mothers give us birth but teachers give us life.
- A student is a representative of his teacher; he is a canvas painted by the teacher.
- He said there is a great demand for good teachers around the world and India being a young country is able to produce good teachers.
- He said that there should be clarity among individuals as to why they want to be leaders – is it only to win elections or they seriously want to serve the people. The leadership quality should be developed from the beginning. If people are affected by your work then you are a good leader.
- He also spoke about the importance of Teachers’ Day and remembered Dr. Radhaskrishnan. He said that change in nation does not mean doing good things but at times small things can also be fruitful for the nation.
- He said there is an urgent need to find out why the value of teachers has lost its importance and why children don’t want to become a teacher when they grow up.
- He added that nation building should become a national movement and every Indian should be a part of it.
- He said that people with high professional achievements and in professions like doctors and engineers should teach school students at least for one period in a week.
- He described himself as a ‘taskmaster’ and said he has always worked hard and expects the same from others.
- He concluded his speech by saying that teacher-student relationship should be nurtured in a way that the child in an individual should stay alive. Everyone should always keep smiling and playing.
Modi’s speech in 2014
On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech and interacted with more than 1,000 school children gathered at Manekshaw auditorium in the capital. The PM also took questions via video conferencing from students outside Delhi. His speech and interaction was telecast live to over 100,000 government and private schools in India through Doordarshan and educational channels. There was also live streaming of the speech via the Internet to ensure maximum “audience”.
This is a new concept by our new government and for the first time in the history of our country, the day was celebrated in a different way. Just a few days back, the Government of India had come up with this new idea of celebrating Teachers’ Day as “Guru Utsav” and a circular was issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to all schools with an order to make the students assemble at the school premises on this day from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to listen to Narendra Modi’s speech.
Modi enthralls kids
“Teaching is not just another profession. It is a responsibility to guide and enlighten. We must once again give respect to our teachers and regain that status where India becomes the power of knowledge for the entire world.” In earlier times, a teacher was considered the most respected person but with time things have changed.
Congratulating teachers on their special day, Modi said they are the guide to thousands of students. And students are the building blocks of the society. He also laid emphasis on upbringing and knowledge which play an important role in lives.
He had advised the students to think big and dream big. He said, “Dream about doing something in life, you would surely become something“. He also remarked that “Google gives information and not knowledge”. He asked the student to read books. Reading historical and autobiographical books will help them get closer to the history.
But he also appreciated TV and media world because of which there is more exposure. He wants to make a digital India and wants technology to reach every student in all languages. He said that students should be well equipped with modern technology, but at the same time they should play and involve in physical activities as well.
Sharing his Japan experience, he said that in Japan, children and teacher clean their toilets together in the school and asked the students to implement the same here. In Japan, students are disciplined and independent.
“I’m a taskmaster, I work a lot and expect others to do the same. I believe in completing every work on time,” he said.
He also said that we should connect ourselves with the nature and save the environment. There should be a collective responsibilty by everyone to save power.
He said that politics is not a profession but a service to society.
To lighten the atmosphere, he also shared incidents of his childhood, how naughty he was when he was a child. “I would staple clothes of two people at the marriage and run away”.
He emphasised on girl education. “If I were a teacher, I would never discriminate students,” Modi said.
At the end, he said that a child’s innocence and naughtiness should remain forever in students. He advised students to enjoy their lives as a student and this is the best period to learn and grow.
Was this mandatory?
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani had said that this move was not mandatory. The students’ participation was to be voluntary.
This decision was highly criticised by the opposition parties and others. States like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Goa had opposed the entire exercise. The selection of the day itself without consulting the state governments had been opposed by all political parties.
Every school usually plans for the Teachers’ Day many days in advance. Some schools declare it as a half day with students celebrating with their teachers, some schools declare it as a holiday, some schools have separate programmes meant only for the teachers and so on. This sudden announcement made many schools to reschedule their plans and programmes. Also, schools had been asked make arrangements for a TV, Internet and alternate arrangements for generators and inverters, in case the facilities are not already available.
Some schools are equipped to arrange the hearing of the Prime Minister’s speech or show the telecast through internet, video conferencing, television and radio. But not all schools have such facilities. Due to this announcement, many schools have spent extra money to get access to Internet or TV sets or projectors. Also, the timing fixed was not suitable as students had to stay back in the school from morning till evening.
Though, the HRD ministry said that it is not compulsory for schools to make the arrangements, yet it was clearly mentioned that a report will be sought from the schools on the programme. Some schools had made the necessary arrangements and had asked the students to come to school in the afternoon to listen to the speech. The principals of certain schools had suggested that the speech could be recorded and shown to the students at some other convenient time on some other day. But the order of “must-watch”, made the situation very complex. Either you follow the order or you do not follow it. But as a matter of fact, most schools, especially those in Delhi, have made all the efforts to show the Prime Minister’s speech to the students. Some schools have gone one step ahead by strictly warning the students to listen to the speech carefully as questions related to the speech will be asked in their approaching half-yearly exams. Isn’t this ridiculous?
Our Prime Minister no doubt deserves all the respect due to the position he held in the country. With due respect to him, someone has rightly commented in a popular networking site, “Narendra Modi ji is our prime minister. Let him not become our prime teacher”.
There are many children who must have heard the speech with great enthusiasm, there must have been many who out of compulsion had to hear the speech and there must be many who stayed at home preparing for their exams. No doubt, he is a good orator and maybe his speech can be very motivational to inspire hundreds of students, but the question is why on 5th September? He said that while previously, this special day was limited to offering prizes and appreciation to the teachers, this time he wanted to make it different. Modiji had already tried this in Gujarat when he was the chief minister there. He is now trying to apply the Gujarat model work on a national scale.
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Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Born on 5th September 1888
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