Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Teacher's magnanimity

GR Sir as Ranganathan was called with respect was a disciplinarian. As a teacher in the high school, he was known for his sincerity and for the pains he took to teach the young wards under him. He expected in return the students to follow the lessons carefully, ask questions when in doubt and do the home work assigned without failure. He had a fetish for punctuality and silence in the class. He was feared for his quick temper and silken irony in his comments. Once out of the class he was a warm, gentle and well mannered person. God fearing and given to strict adherence to the noble values of the profession, he was held in deference by the school management.
One afternoon Bhavani, a girl student of class IX came weeping to the room of the Headmaster. It was just a few minutes after the lunch bell had gone. When asked what brought her to his room, she continued to cry without telling anything. Prompted by him, she said, “GR Sir, called me to come near him immediately after the bell rang. When I went to him, he pulled me towards him and touched my cheeks with both hands. I wrenched myself away and came to you, Sir.” The HM did not believe her and asked her whether anyone was in the class at that time. She replied, “No, all had left.Sowmya my friend was waiting for me near the gate outside the class.” He asked her “Do you know GR Sir is the most respected teacher in our school and held in veneration. How could you level such accusation against him? He must be older than your father. I don’t believe that he would have done such a thing. There had not been a whisper of complaints from thousands of girls who had studied here in the past. Do make sure before you level such serious allegations against a teacher and particularly of his stature. His reputation will be in tatters if this is known to all. If it turns out you are speaking falsehood, your future would be affected. If you still insist that he acted in the manner you say, I will inquire into it.” She replied, “Sir, I have no witnesses. But I promise that whatever I have said is truth. Why would I accuse him if he had not touched me?” The HM asked her to go and cautioned her not to speak to anyone till he inquired.
The HM had during lunch time met GR Sir in staff room and said “GR Sir, can you please meet me in my room at 4PM? I have something to discuss with you.” He agreed to meet him and left.
It was at 3 pm, the HM heard a commotion outside his room. Immediately a middle aged man and his wife entered his room and started shouting in anger “What sort of school you are running? You call yourself HM and do not check your teachers who are womanisers and paedophiles.” The HM asked them to sit down and asked the peon to go out and ensure no one entered the room. The middle aged man complained that my daughter came home running and complained that her teacher misbehaved with her. It appears, he tried to hug and kiss her. The girl luckily could tear herself away from him. Call him here, I would break his hands.” The HM asked him to calm down and said that he would do the needful immediately. He sent for GR Sir who came immediately from the middle of a class. He did not realise the urgency or the seriousness of the matter, till he saw Bhavani with her parents in a perturbed condition.
When the man started abusing the teacher, HM asked him to keep quiet and said that he would do the talking.”GR Sir, this girl Bhavani is accusing that you called her near you and dragged her towards you after the lunch bell had rung. Before I could talk to you, she had gone home and brought her parents. What have you to say?
GR Sir was shocked and in pained bewilderment cried ’Sri Ramachandra Maha Prabho, what did I do to merit such false accusation.Bhavani, I only reprimanded you severely for back chatting and for not doing your homework for weeks at length and threatened that I would report about you to the HM. You were standing on the other side of the table far away from me. Why are you making such false charges? I have a granddaughter of your age. Tell the truth to all, Bhavani.” The father intervened to say “You don’t have to talk to the girl. We don’t believe you. Our daughter never utters a lie and she will not make such charges without a reason.”
The HM said, “It is one person’s word against the other. Let me ask Sowmya who was standing outside the class room.” When Sowmya came the HM requested all to wait outside and told her of the charges Bhavani had leveled against the teacher. He asked her to tell whatever she had heard and seen. The girl said, “Bhavani is my close friend no doubt. But she is uttering a lie. When GR Sir scolded her for her failure to do homework, she back chatted. I was hearing the conversation. Sir got angry and raised his voice threatening to report about her. I then peeped in and saw Bhavani was standing far away from Sir on the other side of the table. She came out in anger and muttered to herself that she would teach him a fitting lesson.”
The HM called all of them and reported the new evidence from Sowmya and turned towards Bhavani. Bhavani, looking at the determined face of her friend, kept quiet putting her head down in shame. The father unexpectedly fell at Ranganathan’s feet and cried “Sir, please forgive us and our daughter. Whatever punishment the HM gives we would accept it without demur. I am ashamed of my daughter and regret my angry words at you.” HM looked at Ranganathan who said “Bhavani is young and a good girl. She evidently did it on an angry impulse. Let us forgive her this time. But on the condition that she would be regular in her homework.” A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others


  1. This definitely is a problem that many teachers face in this day and age. Unfortunately, the girl is the one everyone believes. Few people think the girl also could be lying. This is because, there are more cases when the girl is a victim. We should never come into conclusion without enquiring as this may ruin the life of a person. Lovely story. It encourages people tp think before accusing others and arriving at hasty decisions.

  2. Just like many laws that are misused. In this day and age I see parents setting wrong examples for the kids to follow.
    But on the other hand sometimes such cases happen that make us loose our faith.
    Whatever said & done its true that a teacher has a big role to play, they are the guiding light, they mould the future of a nation and nuture values that are cherished for a life time.
    A apt story indeed.

  3. nice one, and as vidya said, its the problem that many teachers face today..

  4. A very nice post with a good moral. During my childhood days, stories with a moral used to be published in THE HINDU "young world" supplement. Your story just brought back my childhood memories :)Thanks :)

  5. A good teacher is rare nowadays. There are cases when the teacher takes advantage of the student's young age. On the other hand, as your story shows, some students take advantage of a good teacher's strictness or kindness.

    In every type of relationship, there are cases of both good and bad. Finally, we have to trust God to protect us.

    You must be wondering, KP, why I keep mentioning God in my comments on aspiritual work as well. This is so because this is what I have learnt in life. Directly or otherwise, He is present in all that we experience. "Vaasudeva sarvam iti". May He protect and bless us all.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post.


  6. Thought provoking story sir! Though there are teachers who take advantage, I'm really happy with your ending...