He may not be able to bring any revolutionary change to a vast and diverse country like India, but Narendra Modi will certainly be remembered for many ‘firsts’ attached to him. From ‘Man ki Baat’ on All India Radio to speaking live with students across the country on pre-Teachers’ Day celebration, he created a lot of landmarks for himself. None did so before him. And, he does it so convincingly, especially for the layman. There may not be any ‘Modi, Modi’ chanting in the small gathering of a few hundred students at the auditorium, but the excitement of the students as well as their teachers was palpable.

In the unique event anchored entirely by school children themselves, Modi said that there is a special significance of interacting with school children on the eve of Teachers’ Day. He said a teacher is known by the accomplishments of his students. He said that while a mother gives birth, it is the teacher who actually provides life. Modi explained that the teacher and the student, both have a unique importance for each other. He said that teachers should also write about their experiences with various children. He said teachers consider all students as important, and should remember them all – not just the ones who excelled academically. While Modi has made a mark for himself, as he always does, President Pranab Mukherjee too ran some extra miles. A college teacher and a journalist before he joined politics in 1969, Mukherjee taught India’s political history to students of class 11 and 12 at a school in Delhi as part of the pre-Teachers’ Day celebration.

The Prime Minister made most of the occasion by referring to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, by pointing out that the visionary man wanted to be remembered as a teacher and that he died while doing the what he liked most, interacting with students, till final moments of his life. Nine crore students had participated in the PM’s interaction last year and the figure, according to officials, should go up significantly this year. Leaving aside the political bias, everyone must appreciate Modi for elevating the students’ spirit in such a manner, no Prime Minister has done ever.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on September 5, 2015)

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