It seems ages since I passed out from the Mother’s International School in the year 1993. Last year in 2018, the annual alumni meet was hosted by my batch when we were celebrating 25 years of passing out. On one side of the stage was a board having photographs of our teachers who had taught us but had left for their Heavenly abode. I was showing my son the photographs of my teachers, their names and subjects they taught us. The very sight of these photographs took me down the memory lane to the old days and the times we had spent with them under their guidance and love. Little did I know that after 15 days i.e 12th February, 2018 another of our beloved teacher Shri R.C.Shekhar or ‘Shekhar Sir’ as we addressed him would be passing away into History, very far from us, onward to the eternal journey and what would be left with us, his students, would be his memories to love and cherish in our hearts. Some of his memories and facets of life I would like to share here very briefly for those who knew him to remember him once more with me and for those who have only heard of him to know him better.
Sir had joined MIS in 1969 teaching Maths to students of class 8th and above. Later, he switched over to teaching History to students of class 11th and 12th and also became vice-principal of MIS. His communication skills as a teacher were excellent. Although when we entered class 11th we were in awe with the kind of influence he had on the students but we soon realized that Sir taught us with a lot of ease, sharing knowledge, incidents of history, sources about the historical incidents and cross references. Many times, to explain the concepts he would pass on jokes and share anecdotes, making it easier for the students to understand the historical incidents. Like any good teacher he encouraged students to answer and enter into debate, which of course made the class as well as the subject much more interesting. Times rolled on and we passed from School to College and so on and so forth. Sir also moved on from being Vice-Principal of MIS to becoming Principal of Gyan Baharti School in November,1994.
Sir was driven and motivated in life by the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It gave him his spiritual connect as he regularly gave quality time to Ashram and SABDA after School hours and even on holidays. He used to tell us about the early days of MIS and used to remember Chachaji (Late Sri Surendranath Jauhar ‘ Fakir’) with lot of regard and fondness.
All in all if I have to sum up his character in one word I would say that he was a ‘Karmyogi’. His first words on joining Gyan Bharati School were that “I am a man of action and not words”. Throughout his life, his day started early in the morning, going to School and returning by 4.30-5.00 pm. This routine he followed relentlessly even after December, 2016 when he recovered from severe hospitalization. According to the Doctors, it was his love for children which had brought him back from the death bed to his School and he continued his mission for improving and simplifying the education system for children with even more zeal, energy and fervor. He used to say that even ‘One life is not enough’ for my mission.
In Gyan Bharati School Sir he made education till primary level book less. Education without books didn’t mean that there was no education at all but infact stress was laid at over all development of the child through nature walks, play-way method of learning and learning through stories etc. Regular online work sheets ensured that the child doesn’t lose his connection with theoretical aspects of learning. Sir stressed a lot on healthy body of the children because a healthy body only can have a healthy mind, he said. He also started the concept of munch and brunch for small children when kids upto class 3rd were allowed to have munch (small meal break) at about 9.30 AM after assembly followed by regular break at about 11.00 AM. The food brought by kids were regularly monitored by the class teacher to ensure that the students brought healthy food and no junk food was allowed. His whole education philosophy was based on inculcating Indian values in the children and try to make them better human beings. In conclusion I can say that “The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book”