Teacher’s Day- A Timeline of Celebrations

5th September is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India. Following article is a walk down the memory lane.

The School Version:

I was introduced to Teacher’s Day in the cultural hot-pot of Maharashtra. Coming from a very liberal and secular school in Andhra Pradesh, I wasn’t indoctrinated with the idea behind Indian Teacher’s day. It was more of a token celebration with teachers resting for the day or taking us out in the ground to play. However, this school of mine in Maharashtra used to be decked up for this celebration, as is common for all the celebrations. The first half of the day would be celebrations and the second half would be teaching activity by students.

First Half

The morning was marked by cultural fest like a song or dance, which was purely for entertainment. No performance bore any marks of any religious/spiritual indoctrination. (the school being a secular one could have been one of the reasons, but the era was unlike today’s). I remember some students singing “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” on Teacher’s Day on the stage, a feat unimaginable today. Some of our Teachers were also felicitated on this day for their contribution to the school and their dedication for student improvement. This cemented our belief that good people always get rewarded. A belief that is hard to see to fruition these days.

And students would gift their teachers with either purchased items or handmade items by visiting them in the staffroom. I still remember the camaraderie in the staffroom. Used to see the person behind the mantle of Teacher.

Second Half

In the second half, the students would take up the teaching activity. The students had nominated themselves during the selection process. The students would take the classes of their favourite teachers, and would deliver a lesson for that day. The teachers would observe how the class is going on and pass their remarks post class.

I still remember the cold, hazy morning when we ushered the school gates with excitement. An excitement to see our friends perform on the stage, later mimicking their favourite teachers, ending up with a laugh-riot. The idea that Teachers are our guide, mentor, and an entity to be respected was imbibed, not imposed, during this phase.

Teacher’s Day, the Junior College/College Version:

By the time I reached Junior College, the media indoctrination of being rebels had creeped in. Celebration of Teacher’s day remained a mere formality to praise our teachers. The teachers would then talk about their life lessons and their favourite students. Quite often, those students would be those who have brought laurels to the school. Students would go up to their favourite teacher and offer Greeting Cards or at times some small gifts. I found it clumsy and boring, so a band of us rebels would bunk that. We would give ourselves a day off and roam the streets of the city.

Teacher’s Day, the College Version:

By the time I had reached graduation, order and discipline of the school was replaced by chaos and unruliness. It was a difficult first few months to get accustomed to the unruliness and disorderly form of life. However, since my college was pretty new & managed by some school authorities. So, it was somewhat relatable in orderliness.
The Teachers Day here felt very nostalgic and I could remember my school days, the little joys we had in celebrating the Teacher’s Day. Classmates having the same feeling amplified this nostalgia and it made it surreal. It was if we all shared the same feeling. But deep down, I knew there was something more to it. Something that seemed artificial. Nevertheless, going with the flow to avoid any social dissociation seemed fruitful.

The celebrations snubbed the dullness out of the miserable event. Speeches, songs, and a couple of acts saved the grace. What followed next was a dull day of teaching with a couple of lectures. Then, the groups would roll out to roam or hang out in the areas/places that suited them the most.

And the grand day would come to an end.

My Quest

However, what remained as a puzzle to me was, why was this day dedicated as Teachers day on the birthday of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan? All my academic life, I could only see his photos adorning the stage with not much details. All I could gather was that, he was some teacher, did some great work, and was the first vice president of India & second President of India. On asking my teachers, from school to college, all I could get was a frown and a dumbfounded look. Most looks were as if “how could this kid not know who Radhakrishnan was?” In my mind, I was like “If you all don’t tell me, how would I know?”

I wasn’t to know this puzzle until late in my PG, almost 5 years later. And when I knew it, things became more clearer to me.

Next to read: Why I don’t celebrate teachers day?






One response to “Teacher’s Day- A Timeline of Celebrations”

  1. […] have made a separate post highlighting my journey of Teachers Day. You can read it here. This shall give you an insight on what I’m about to articulate and may take you down the […]

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