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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Teachers' Day ~ remembering the great VOC (Kappal ottiya Thamizhan) - 2018


Things were far different when we joined, studied and left … not these long queues, ordeal of admission, it was mostly of simple application filling and getting in – but when a seat is gotten with great difficulty, how many parents would visit the school, know the teacher of their son/daughter, ever interact with them. ….  Those days, the teacher was a learned, highly respected man – commanding wishes when he (or she) walked on the roads – and do you remember your favourite teacher ??   ~ Happy Teachers’ Day 2018.


o   “I am indebted to my father for living, but I am indebted to my teacher for living well,” Alexander, The Great, once said. While a good teacher does a fantastic job of educating their pupil in textbooks, a great teacher acts as an influential personality in one’s life.
o    * It is a greater work to educate a child, in the true and large sense of that phrase, than to rule a state.
o   * Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives. —Andy Rooney, Journalist

For most of us the first inspiration is the School Teacher – the one who changed the lives of so many of us.  Today is the day to remember those great personalities who with such vigour provided us the most important thing in life the Education, the chance to learn.   On 5th Sept,  Teacher's Day is celebrated in India in honour of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was born on September 5, 1888. Dr Radhakrishnan was India's second president and a great scholar, philosopher and Bharat Ratna recipient. Since 1962, India has commemorated his birth anniversary by paying tribute to its hardworking - and admittedly under-appreciated - teachers and gurus. Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is the thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing his or her gratitude. Do you remember the Names and can you recollect the faces of your teachers at your Elementary school and in Secondary school .... have you ever met any of them after coming out of school.  Can you recognise them and would you stop, spend time to pay reverence, if you are to have a chance meeting with them ?  

India was born in midnight ! ~ the freedom was not a day’s affair or that of a single man packing the rulers away !! – it was a just fruit gotten by the sacrifices of very many leaders, many of whom perhaps the people of Nation have not recognised properly. The clamour to advertise that freedom was obtained without bloodshed sent to background many a great sacrifices.  ‘Kappalottiya Thamizhan’  released in 1961 is a great movie by many counts.  The film directed by B. R. Panthulu, having cast of Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan,  S. V. Subbaiah, T. K. Shanmugham, S. V. Ranga Rao, S. A. Ashokan – powerfully portrayed the freedom struggle down South.  The film based on the biography of V.O.Chidambaram Pillai written by Ma. Po. Si.(M.P.Sivagnanam) taught history to later generations.   

The film was about VOC (Valliappan Ulaganathan Chidambaram Pillai) – the great man, the advocate, who started shipping venture challenging the British on high seas – he suffered throughout his life and struggled.  VOC along with Subramanya Siva, another great patriot was summoned to Tirunelveli by the Collector  (shown as Winch in the film) – that meeting was also a great scene.  They were charged on sedition and sent to long years of imprisonment.  It was unthinkable suffering that broke their back but never their spirit.   Had it been properly documented, it would grind to dust any claims of gentleness and portray the barbarism of erstwhile British rulers.

Today, 5th Sept, should   rekindle the memories of another great patriot who underwent untold sufferings at the hands of British… more than a century ago, his speech at Thai Poosa Mantapam in the bed of river Thamirabarani at Tirunelveli [on the night of 9th  March 1907] sent shivers and he was convicted under sections 124A & 153A of Indian Penal Code by the Bench consisting of CA White & Miller. In that famous speech, he had thundered “"As soon as the English people set foot in India, poverty also made its appearance in the country. So long as the foreign Government exists we shall not prosper. So long as we continue to be the servants and slaves of foreigners we shall have to endure hardships.

The Great man isVandanam Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai ~ more famous as VOC or Kappolottiya thamizhan,  was born on 5th  Sept 1872. His father was an eminent lawyer Ulaganathan Pillai in Ottapidaram, Tuticorin Dist. Like his father, he also became an advocate and often pleaded for the poor. His exemplary fighting qualities made him establish the “Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company” during Nov 1906 by purchasing two steamships ‘S.S.Gaelia’ and ‘S.S.Lawoe’. This indeed is an exemplary act when somebody can imagine the stringent measures and imperialistic attitude of the Britishers who crushed any such activity by brutal force. By running ships, he challenged the monopoly enjoyed by the British India Steam Navigation Company, formed in 1856.

5th Sept marks his 147th   Birth day. I for one, am  not for celebrating birth days of those persons who are no more. Still, today  would remain a day worthy of remembering and recalling his commitment, strong will and sacrifice. The young generations of India should read his life as an example of resistance, strife, struggle, suffering and sacrifice.

Paying tribute to teachers, here is a photo of class in progress at  SYMA Tuition centre Growth, where every year we attempt to change to lives of more than100 poor children. …..

With reverence to all my teachers who taught me and those teachers whom I know                   ~ S. Sampathkumar.
5th Sept. 2018.
1.      My most favourite teacher was Mrs Bhagavathi who taught at Samarao School in 5th standard – she was married recently at that time and travelled from Katpadi !!
2.      Special thanks to those teachers who have been doing wonderful service at our Educational centre – Syma Growth – where we offer free tuitions to 110 poor children (every year)  for the past 11 years’
3.      If you had studied Tamil at school, for sure, you were immensely benefitted by Mr Aiyyam Perumal Konar  who studied and taught at Trichy.  In case you are wondering who ? – he is the person who wrote ‘Konar Tamizh Urai’ – the practical guide for Tamil Text book and grammar that made our lives so easy at school.  Written in lucid style, it indeed kindled our interests in the language besides helping us secure good marks – that way he was a teacher to all Tamil students (from FB page of Pugal Machendran Pugal understand that he too was born on 5th Sept)

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