Kashmiris have accustomed with broader values and principles of humanism through long, rich and resourceful history
Prof. (Dr.) Ghulam Jeelani Quereshi, the worthy principal of Government Degree College (GDC) Pattan chose an apt theme for discussion on Teachers’ Day commemoration during this challenging Covid-19 period. The college also called up on two literary significant and worthy personalities for illuminating the thoughts of both students and teachers simultaneously.
The webinar was organised with the theme entitled in Kashmiri language “ustad tae shagird sund rishte - Akh shech”. After listening to the enlightening and heart soothing speech of Khawaja Zareef Ahmad Zareef and Prof. N. A. Gilkar, I found “Inculcating Good Faith in Teacher-Taught Relations” as an appropriate conceptualisation of the theme in English.
I would suggest the college and in general the Department of Higher Education to adopt this theme as resolution for commemorating the coming International Teachers Day because the good faith based on the ethics of love, affections and principles of sincerity and accessibility of teacher for student is important in present Covid-19 situation.
I would also suggest the department to form a non official literary society including the retired academicians who have contributed to research, literature and academics in different perspectives. They may help in guiding the academician and educational institutions as star lights. However, it should not be for those who have spend their life only earning perks and promotions in changing designations.
At the outset, I would like the two literary figures to pardon me for any exaggeration in this write-up. However, I simply want the words of these literary jewels to reach maximum number of teachers and students. Zareef A. Zareef Sahab began the speech with full of love greetings and blessings for both the teachers and student community of the nation.
The lecture of Zareef Sahab was a portmanteau which traverses the listeners through our history, culture, ethics and personal experiences of the speaker. He remembers us the different epochs of our history and its significance in Kashmiri society. He narrated that more than four thousand year years of Hindu history; the Kashmiris have learned and inculcated the values of tolerance and peace.
Afterwards, Kashmiris adopted themselves to Budhism. In the Budhist acculturation, Kashmiris found the teachings of humanist awakening. Kashmiris later on accepted Islam when they accustomed to its messages of social justice, equality and peace. We were progressive in search of Humanist thought and values. Kashmiris have accustomed themselves with broader values and principles of humanism through the long, rich and resourceful history.
He then reiterated the teachers to be empathetic and loving towards students. He impressed upon all that a gentle force should be part of teaching skill to motivate students in pursuing their goals. He advised the teachers not to bring your longings to classroom rather enter into classrooms with jovial face and mood.
He also spoke about the teachers being heckled and harassed in our society. He lamented on the position of teachers who are made wanderers and forced to come on roads protesting for wages, job instabilities and professional vulnerabilities. A nation who shirks its heart for teachers cannot lead a respectable life.
“A teacher should be knowledgeable in several aspects rather than just his specialised subject. He must be engaging, cordial, humble and interactive with his students and must inject the fragrance of knowledge into the budding tulips (the students). He must shun his laziness and must not be lackadaisical,” he said.
He impressed upon the academic management and leadership that a perfect teacher delivering his duties perfectly and honestly is possible when he is ensured self sufficiency and dignity. Professional ethics can be disseminated only when a teacher is not longing and suffering in his personal life.
In order to demonstrate an example of ‘good faith’ relation between students and teachers he narrated the story of Dr. Sir Iqbal when Sir Iqbal was asked by the then governor of Punjab to recommend name of an outstanding teacher who has made significant contributions to honour him with the title of ‘Shams al-Ulama’.
Sir Iqbal recommended name of his teacher Syed Mir Hassan. The governor curiously asked about his writings and contributions. Sir Iqbal responded that my teacher has not written any book but he has authored a living book called ‘Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal’. The governor was convinced and the teacher of Sir Iqbal was honoured with title ‘Shams al-Ulama’.
Prof. Gilkar Sahab also shared his memories of different teachers about their dedication and commitment towards teaching and students. While narrating his personal experiences, he said that a teacher must have charisma. A charisma based on academic virtues and professional ethics. The students know and remember teacher for the said qualities. He said that teacher and student are two important constituents of education. I, therefore, think that teacher and student constitute an academic fraternity. I remember in Pondicherry University during an international conference, a professor from an European university, said that the educational institutions working on Himalayas or plain coastal areas of India to western Harvard and Cambridge Universities constitute a one academic fraternity and one of mottos of western education is to inculcate good faith within the members of this fraternity. Hope the same good faith may evolve in our institutions.
Prof. Gilkar spoke about an apprehension of doctorates aspiring to apply for low profile class fourth jobs. However, a teacher is not a ‘god’ or a saint free of any social responsibility. Earning lively hood is different and learning is unique feature of the teachers.
Zareef Sahab also spoke clearly why do doctorates are looking for other means to earn living, when they are completely left professionally vulnerable. Both the dignitaries concluded their talk by thanking teacher’s community. They also offered a humble prayer for academic fraternity (teacher and students). I thank from core of heart both dignitaries for illuminating us.
Author is a Lecturer, Political Science, Government Degree College, Pattan