-Nikhil S.

What is the role of the Teacher in our society?

Guru Govind dono khade kake lagu paay
Balihari Guru aapki Govind diyo batay-Sant Kabir
Kabir wrote this verse to sing the glory of Guru, He asks, If both, Guru and God in were to appear in front of you, whose feet will I worship
first? He answers, It has to be the Guru’s first, because without him, how would I have recognized God?

A teacher is the second most person, in a young child’s life, after their family. Teachers act as a major conduit in the development of a student’s mental & emotional development. In Ancient Indic culture, teachers are given importance and a place of respect. We celebrate Guru Poornima, the full moon day in the month of Ashadha. In Modern day’s “Teachers Day” in India, is celebrated on September 5 every year. The gurus are celebrated in India, from times immemorial. Respect does exist not only in our schools and Education Institutes but also as a part of our everyday lives.

Unfortunately, there have been instances in the past and present, where teachers were found to be using the school and their positions, to promote a specific ideology. The teachers have their own thoughts and irrespective of the repercussions, the teachers impart their mindset and perspectives to their students. A prime example of this has been reported in The City of Akola, in the State of Maharashtra in India.

During our childhood, one of the best English Medium School, in our city was Mount Carmel School. Most of my friends, the brightest students of our city attended this school, many of whom have later in life lead very successful lives. For countless years, this school has been producing talented students, groomed for further higher education. Mount Carmel, for almost three decades, has been an elite institution for preparing students for higher education.

In these times of the current pandemic, most schools have students taking the online classes, and the messages for homework and educational purposes are being sent using Whats App Group. Sunita Joseph, a teacher at Mount Carmel School posted on WhatsApp, the following message, as seen below for a group of students from 6th Standard Division A.

WhatsApp message forwarded to 6th standard students by their teacher

The Principle of the School Father Mathew Karickal issued a statement condemning the action of the teacher and followed it with a suspension letter. This was a result of the active participation of the parents and the community, ensured the dismissal of the teacher responsible for infusing hatred among the students about their own faith and beliefs.

However, several such instances go unnoticed, ignored, or predominantly excused for the sake of their children’s academics. To be a good and effective teacher, one should show sensitivity towards students and their religious beliefs. The teachers should understand they will be held accountable and suspended for such egregious behavior against their impressionable students. One thing to consider, why do these incidents happen at missionary run schools? It is because their core objective in setting up schools is to indoctrinate the teachings of their religious faith. To try to brainwash students from an early age towards Christianity.

We will continue to find numerous schools, institutions, and other instances of hate against Dharmic Faiths. As a community, it is our responsibility to be vigilant and continue to expose such evangelical and predatorial behavior. Especially, if the behavior is displayed by a teacher who is so much revered in the Dharmic Faiths.

Ultimately, it’s the parent’s responsibility to carefully review and monitor the curriculum. To fully understand, and if necessary to defend their child, from the improper use of education to covertly convert their children at these schools. Additionally, the government needs to be more mindful and cognizant, of these Incidents of religious intolerance. When required, it should create laws to protect the religious integrity of the students and their families. The laws should be severed if a teacher is found to have committed acts of conversion. A mere suspension, will not really deter teachers from committing such acts of brainwashing and conversion, a form of cultural and religious genocide. It is certain that such teachers will find some other avenues to propagate their belief systems.

We must keep the pressure and continue to shine the light on these underhanded regions converters. Governments, International Bodies, and Educational Institutions should examine multiple and various ways of handling force conversions throughout the world. 

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.