Farah Khatoon

If Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan would have been alive now he would have never asked his students to celebrate his birthday as Teacher’s Day. Poet Kabir expressed his reverence for teachers through his doha, Guru Govind dono khade, ka ke laagun paaye, Balihari guru aapne, Govind deeyo milaye… This particular couplet translated as “God and teacher are both standing side by side, who I should look for blessings? It’s the teacher whom I should first go and hug as he made me aware of God!” It said everything about the respect and love that he had for teachers. Teachers’ Day is a day when the contribution of a teacher is acknowledged for making one’s life more knowledgeable. But the respect that teachers earned down the ages is waning drastically with a new power equation emerging within and without the classrooms. 
If instances of students being manhandled by teachers are rampant and are making headlines, teachers are suffering silently inside the class and the relevance of Teachers’ Day is being questioned. “What about the humiliation that teachers are facing in every class now? Students don’t respect their parents, they don’t respect their teachers, whom will they respect? And how will they be disciplined? If a child is abused he can go to educational tribunal but who will address the issue of teachers suffering silently inside the class,” questions Raja Mc. Gee, the principal of Calcutta Boys School (CBS) who has preserved a cane only for its archival value. The cane belonged to Principal Clifford Hicks who in his 22 years of tenure raised the school to a high level in terms of academic results through his strict discipline, to which the ex-students fondly regard as the golden days of CBS. “It is the cane that made us strong, which disciplined us,” said Anil Sengupta, 45, an ex-student of CBS. The principal believes it is the experimenting method that is ruining and deteriorating society. “The total deterioration of  society is because of the experiments in the education system. We are playing with the future of the children, which is suicidal,” said Mc. Gee referring to the changing norms in the educational system, in which disciplining students, on the face of an increasingly over-sensitized atmosphere, is a tall task.
The recent instance of Rouvanjit Rowla is worrying both parents and teachers as schools are receiving more complaints in this regard. If parents are worried about their child imitating the act of Rouvanjit Rowla, schools are appalled by the behavior of the students. “Whether it is a parent or a student everybody is taking advantage of the situation. It is difficult to face their ire at even a mention of disciplinary action,” said Nandini Roy Choudhary, a school teacher who believes whether it is media, teacher, parent or students everybody needs to be more responsible and conscious about their duties.
The exposure children now have is making them more and more aware about the fruits of resisting discipline and behaviour suitable  for their age and manner. Moreover, the level of tolerance has decreased everywhere and the over-pampering of the child at home is making it tough for teachers to control and guide them. “Most of the children are the only child of their parents and are pampered at home. When they receive a discipline in school they are unable to take it,” said Indrani Raha, a mass communication teacher at Calcutta University (CU).
However, educationists believe it is not only the students who are to be blamed for the woes of the teachers but teachers themselves also have their share. “Teachers are becoming materialistic, they teach for the sake of teaching, they do not love their profession the way it was earlier,” said Miratun Nahar, a retired professor of Philosophy at Victoria College. She believes it is a passing phase but Raha believes it is the teachers themselves who have the ability to amend everything. “A teacher needs to be competent enough to get respect. If teachers are like parents at school, he needs to express his affection towards the child in the right manner so that the child understands the affection in the right sense,” said Raha.
One cannot imagine life without a teacher. So parents, teachers and students must together decide what they want from each other. And in their collective understanding of the problem lies the solution for the future.