Teachers are trailblazers, igniting seeking spirit in the minds of both young and old.  In the truest sense of the word, a teacher is someone who sets in motion, the wheel of lifelong learning. Traditionally, the role of a teacher doesn’t just end with just handholding a person through a particular subject but it is to foster and nurture him or her till he or she moves on from one milestone to the other. In India, a teacher or a ‘guru’ continues to work with the same spirit.

Let’s recall some of the greatest of Indian teachers who through their path-breaking ways in their dedicated fields have opened up unending possibilities for those who want to learn and create value.

1. Gautama Buddha - Acknowledged as one of the finest teachers humanity ever produced, Siddhartha Gautama, as known as Gautam Buddha, taught people since 5th Century BC to live fruitful lives by harnessing the potential to be happy inherent within their own lives. Buddha taught the way of life, a life that had the power to use suffering as a key for inner transformation. The teachings of the Buddha culminated into the religion of Buddhism that is more of a way of life. Till date, people across the globe, irrespective of the religion and faith they are born into study Buddha’s teaching for opening up their minds and hearts to the newer perspectives of looking at life. 

2. Aryabhatta - The towering mathematician from India who rocked the scientific community of the world with his concept of ‘Zero’ and approximate value of Pi. Being a mathematician and an astronomer, he left an extant body of mathematical and astronomical treatises compiled in ‘Arya-shatas-ashta’ for furthering a spirit of discovery and research among his students and future generation. Born in 476 CE, this classical mathematician and astronomer from ancient India made accurate calculations of the length of the day and the year. Also, he was the first to expound that planet and the moonshine because of the reflected sunlight.

3. Dr Amartya Sen - Dr Amartya Sen is a globally recognized Indian economist known for his significant contributions in the field of welfare economics.  He was also awarded Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998 for his noteworthy contribution in providing a significant body of work on poverty enabling policymakers across the globe develop solutions and policies for the betterment of poorer sections of the society. As a teacher, he has taught in much-acclaimed Jadavpur and Delhi University in India and Oxford and Harvard University in the United Kingdom. In 2008, the Indian government donated $4.5 million to Harvard University for establishing Amartya Sen Fellowship Fund to support the education of deserving students from India at Harvard University.

4. Sonam Wangchuk – Known for his extraordinary educational reforms, Sonam Wangchuk has shown the world that education is all about innovation and translating knowledge into practical applications in life. He is known for establishing SEMCOL School in 1988 in Ladakh that enables students to apply their learning in practical lives by creating micro-projects related to ordinary lives such as creating and running their vegetable garden independently. Sonam Wangchuk is also a crusader for climate change and recently received the much-acclaimed Rolex award for creating "Ice Stupas" as a sustainable source of water for irrigation during arid days.

5. Jagadish Chandra Bose - Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose was an eminent scientist and educator who was the first to propound and prove that plants too have feelings through a device known as Crescograph. His scientific know-how was further solidified through his education in deemed institutions such as the London University and Christ College Cambridge. During his tenure as a teacher in Presidency College, he extensively conducted scientific experiments to foster seeking spirit in his students. Eventually, he was known to foster two eminent scientists, Meghnad Saha and Satyendranath Bose.

6. Dr Vikram Sarabhai - Known as the ‘Father of Indian Space Program’, Dr Vikram Sarabhai established the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad and a slew of prominent educational institutions in the likes of IIM in Ahmedabad and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.  The greatest of all his educational and research endeavours was the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization for propelling space-related scientific activities in the nation. Felicitated by Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan (Posthumously), Dr Vikram Sarabhai has been instrumental in laying the foundation for harnessing satellite communication for spreading education in remote villages of India.

7. B.K.S Iyengar - Named by Time Magazine as one of the hundred most positively influencing personalities in the world, Sri B.K.S Iyengar has re-defined the purpose of Yoga. Through a period of intensive research on prevalent Yoga and Asanas of India, he developed an entirely new school known as Iyengar Yoga. This new school completely focussed on alignment, sequencing and timing and also the use of props to help students. As a teacher, he has been documented multiple times for his effortless and hands-on teaching methodology.

India as a country  rich in  talent, skill and intellect.  Here our Tribute to all the teachers who played a vital role in enabling every student to give expression to his inherent potential.

Happy Teacher’s Day.