The Legacy of a Good Teacher Never Dies

College life is something that we all think of as we grow and learn the lessons of life the hard way. But it is also true that many times we begin to think of those times when that one teacher in college who has had such an impact on you as a person. This blog is dedicated to such teachers during my college days who had an influence on my thinking and contributed in some way to who I am today.

Recently I had an opportunity to visit my home town Allahabad. Much before my plans were being made, I had started feeling like meeting one of my teachers of college days. He was young those days and was a brilliant scholar who was able to connect with the students. His great quality was that he could touch the students at their heart and make a difference. I reached Allahabad and met some of my old friends of college days. I asked them about the teacher and no one had a clue about him nor had anyone visited him for a long time. But I continued to enquire and search for him and finally, I decided to take two of my friends on a search for him in the most possible areas around the University residences. I was finally able to locate his house and asked a person standing out that I wanted to meet him. I was taken to a house and told that he lives here. A person came out of the house and told me that he does not meet anyone anymore. I told that please tell him that an old student of his has come to see him. The person returned after may be talking to him and told that he will see you. I was taken to a room where he was lying on a bed with all hospital equipment attached to his body. The room looked like a hospital room. So many packets of medicines were lying on his bed and the table on which a dialysis machine was placed.

When I entered the room, he looked at me but I am sure he did not recognize me as it was about 30 years since I had last seen him. I walked to his bedside and sat on the chair near the head side of the bed along with my friends who sat next to me. Slowly he moved his hand and took my hands in his as I told him who I was. Holding my hand, he just closed his eyes and tears started to roll. He did not say anything for about 15 minutes and there was complete silence in the room. He just held on to my hand throughout as if to say, that just stay here and don’t leave me like this. I felt that he was scared that if he leaves my hand, I will leave the room. Then his eyes opened and he looked at me and said I heard that you have become a Vice-Chancellor of a University. I said yes that is true and he said that this is the day for which we as teachers, live. To see our students reach new heights that we were never able to achieve. Then we talked of the old days and how life was in those days. As the conversation moved, he started becoming very emotional and at one point looked at me still holding my hand and said, “I Don’t Want to Live anymore”. He said that I am so happy to see you and to know that you have made so much progress in life. I did not know how to respond to such a situation and I told him that you will be fine and things will return to normal soon. He said “whatever I had to give to this world I have given to you all and now it is your work that will continue to make me live a new life”. Always treat your students the way I treated you all and that is all I want to leave for you all who have been my students.

Time was running out and we had already spent over 90 min and it was time to leave. He looked at us and said I know you have to go now and do other things. He said I don’t know if I will see you again so it is a good time to say goodbye and he slowly pulling his hand away from my hand as if he was slipping in his sleep with his eyes closed and the tears started to roll again. I had tears in my eyes as I walked past his bed and out of the room giving a last look at him from the door to say may you have the best in the next life for having given me so much of yourself.

When I reflect back on that day, I still feel the vibrations in that room, the joy of seeing me and the sorrow of departing. It makes me think this is life in its true sense. As teachers and students, we have the responsibility to create the future of this Nation so lets work together for better India.

Happy Reading

Prof Kamlesh Misra