Light The Lamp Within, Teacher
Excerpt from the convocation address at the International Academy for Creative Teaching, Bangalore. by Subroto Bagchi
The people who write my textbooks and the ones who prescribe the syllabi will not tell you how important inclusion is for me to do well in life. Without the sense of inclusion, I will not know that boundaries are meant to be pushed - not to be lived in.
Take for example the fact that I clean my house but empty my garbage on the road. That is because the road is not "included" in what I deem to be my own.
I feed my own child but do not enquire if the maid has eaten today. Her hunger is not included in my hunger. So, Teacher - teach me inclusion.
Teacher, teach me "sense making" in an increasingly senseless world. Teach me not just what is good or what is bad. I may not always be lucky to be in situations that will be simply either black or white.
As you teach me to deal with moments of crisis - teach me how to come out of them without residual toxicity.
For there will be moments in life when I will see the failing of those I have admired. I will see cracks in the walls of those who had taught me the meaning of strength and solidity. In those difficult moments, I should know that sometimes situations make people who they are. Teach me such that cynicism does not impair my power to behold the beautiful nature of creation of which the human nature is also a part.
I pray to you to make me learn. More than that, Teacher, teach me how I can learn to learn.
As you prepare me for the wide world in which I need to fend for myself and for others, one-time learning will not be good enough. I will have to have the ability to learn newer things and more difficult things. Some of it I will need to learn in increasingly lesser time. In all this, what will become critical is the process of learning itself, more than just what I am able to learn. Help me to learn newer ways to learn. And that will make learning a joy for me.
As you teach me to learn how to learn, I pray to you to teach me to learn from unusual sources
Teach me to learn sense of duty from the driver of the school van who must rise before I do.
Teach me to learn to work unsupervised like the ant and the bee who do not need anyone to breathe down their neck so they add value each new day as they wake up to work.
As I learn to learn from unusual sources, I pray that you teach me to appreciate the interconnected nature of things.
Teach me, not just about the way the waves rise but what causes them to engulf. Teach me to appreciate that the trees I fell, the small creatures I kill with indiscriminate use of fertilisers and pesticides on the ground, the urban decay I cause with my consumptive ways - all catch up with awesome imbalances in the natural state of things that cause death and destruction and can one day, engulf me and whatever else I am trying to leave behind.
I pray to you to teach me humility so that I am able to receive
Our minds become mountains of ego as we know more things and become more successful.
Mountains cannot hold water as the clouds rain on them. The mind has to be a valley and not a mountain, so that it can become a reservoir of life. Make me meek and humble and ordinary so that I empty myself and gain the power to receive.
As I learn the power of humility, teach me about how all things that sustain life on earth, come free
The cow does not get paid for the milk she gives us. The earth does not ask for money for the crops we get. The sea does not come to get royalties on the catch of the day. The sun and the air and the river and the clouds do not get paid for their services.
Finally, I pray to you to teach me to develop a world view of things
Teach me to appreciate that poverty disease and hunger have no nationality. For hundreds of years, I have lived in a world with narrow domestic walls. In that world patriotism was founded on religious bigotry, racial intolerance and man's remarkably short view of time. It was bounded by barbed wires and smoking guns. In the future that I want to create, I want you to teach me the power of loving another fellow human being.
Teach me to appreciate diversity and dialogue.
Teach me tolerance and teach me to remove the word "foreign" and "foreigner" from my vocabulary.
This is my world, Teacher. In this world, I do not want to be a foreigner to anyone and I do not want to treat anyone like a foreigner.
From the convocation address at
the International Academy for Creative Teaching, Bangalore.
Subroto Bagchi is Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer,
MindTree Consulting Pvt. Ltd