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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Tribute to all Gurus on TEachers' Day - remembering Sri RA Sriraj

In every Society, Teachers are to be respected most.  In our culture, they are reverred highly.   Was very happy to be part of  Teachers’ Day Tribute – happening at MO Parthasarathi Iyengar Vaishnava Primary School in Triplicane.  It actually was not celebrations but  tribute to a MAN whose life was lived with purpose !! 

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 ? Of the four mada veethis of Thiruvallikkeni, the farthest is Singarachari Street – one could not miss this old building opp to Punjab National Bank ~ a school, “ Samarao School” ~ an elementary school in existence for perhaps 100 years or so!  - here is a photo taken this day of Samarao School and I remembered my 5th standard teacher Mrs Bhagawathi and others.  I also recalled all my Masters at Hindu High School and at DG Vaishnav College … .. and those teachers of SYMA Growth, with whom we are associated for more than a decade now.

சுமார் 30 அல்லது 40  ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் – பள்ளிகளில் ஆங்கிலபிரிவில் படித்தவர் குறைவு.   முந்தையகாலங்களில் 'ஆசிரியர் - மாணவர்'  உறவு அன்பான பந்தமாக இருந்தது.

Aristotle  was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he has been called the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government.  Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is the thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing his or her gratitude.

இம்மை பயக்குமால் ஈயக் குறைவின்றால்  ** தம்மை விளக்குமால் தாமுளராக் கேடின்றால்

எம்மையுலகத்தும் யாம் காணோம் கல்விபோல்  **  மம்மர் அறுக்கும் மருந்து.

Education is the most important thing in life – it will give Worldly pleasures  and give pleasure to the world too; it will not diminish by giving; it will spread the fame of those possessing it; cannot be destroyed… there is no better medicine  than Education that can cure all ills.   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 ??    

For most of us the first inspiration is the School Teacher (to me it was my mother) – the one who changed the lives of so many of us.  Today, 5th Sept  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. 

உலகத்தில் வாழவேண்டிய அறநெறியில் நின்று வாழ்கிறவன், வானுலகத்தில் உள்ள தெய்வ முறையில் வைத்து மதிக்கப்படுவான். திருக்குறள் நூலுக்கான தொகுப்புரைச் செய்யுளாக  முதலில் சொல்லப்பட்ட திருக்குறளை சொல்லலாம்.  மனிதர்கள் பிறக்கிறார்கள் ! வாழ்கிறார்கள் !  மறைகிறார்கள்.  இவர் போன்று யாரும் தொண்டாற்றி சமுதாயத்திற்கு நல்வித்திட்டு தங்களை மக்கள் மதிக்குமாறும் நினைக்குமாறும் செய்வோர் புனிதர்.   அவ்வாறு செயற்கரிய செயல் செய்த திரு ஸ்ரீராஜ் அவர்களை மரியாதையுடனும் இன்று  அவரிடம் படித்து பயன்பெற்று இன்று நல்ல வேளைகளில் உள்ள, அவரது பணியை தொய்வில்லாது செய்து வரும் சில மாணவர்கள்  அன்புடன் நினைவு கூர்ந்தார்கள்.  இன்று அவரது முதலாம் ஆண்டு நினைவஞ்சலி கூட.  

              Ramanujapuram Ananthanpillai Sriraj, popular as “Sriraj” ... was born in  1947 - the year in which our Independence dawned,  this humble person was born at a small obscure hamlet near the gold mines of kolar in Karnataka and today, it is one year since he passed away.  The well-qualified man, who remained a celibate, took up on illiteracy.  Chennai though considered the wisdom capital of the Bharat has clusters of slums inhabited by people with little access to education.  The geography of Triplicane is too well known – all of us know the existence of slums and the standard of living of those inside; many may be blissfully ignorant of their trials and tribulations.  Not for Sriraj.  The urge to serve the weaker lings was always burning within.  Here was a man motivated by Dr Hedgewar’s policy of educating and motivating the society.  

He made a humble beginning by teaching  primary school children of  Hanumanthapuram in the evenings., for moulding should start when very young.  As the numbers swelled, he had to look out for a bigger place.  He did not look outside for solution but shifted the tuition centre to his own house.  For more than 15 years this noble person continued rendering service in style.  At peak, he had more than 100 students with nearly 18 volunteers teaching the school curriculam.     At a particular stage, he even made them Computer-literates too,  by having 4 systems properly manned, teaching them the soft-skills.   Thiru Sriraj lived a saintly life, taking care of his old mother in the best manner. Understand that his mother passed away and  Sriraj breathed his last peacefully leaving Triplicane and this World. 

Today at MOP Vaishnav School, some of his students organized a function in his memory.  It was indeed a grand effort – Mr Manavalan who organized the meeting,  happily said he became the first Graduate research  scholar from Hanumathapuram under the wings of Sriraj – there were many others who have graduated since and more importantly are teaching children finding time from their avocation.  Mr Manavalan is now heading an educational institution at Kanchipuram speaks volumes of the seeds sown by Sriraj.   One of his students, who is a Police cop was honoured for having saved a man during pandemic – the man had climbed a transformer with the intention of suicide and Mr Ilangovan risking his life climbed up and saved him. 

Today the meeting in memory of Sri RA Sriraj was chaired by Dr MD Srinivas, Ph.D, Chairman, Centre for Policy studies, Managing person of the school -  and on the podium along with him was  Sri Paramasivam, a student of Sriraj, who has graduated and has risen in education, Mrs Seethalakshmi, Teacher of MoP Primary School and Yours Truly representing SYMA.    Mr Sriraj was closely associated with SYMA and was our active member.

Even as rich tributes were paid on Sriraj, by every speaker that included Yours Truly, the Teacher and the chairperson -  the crystal clear message was – he is living in the hearts of many many through his relentless, self-less educational service to poor and slum children.

Long live Sriraj – as the Organising committee reaffirmed its commitment in serving the society, for which they will follow the ideals of Srinivas Youngmens Association [SYMA] – today many office-bearers and  members of SYMA [Mr Kasthuri, SRP, Sanjeevi, TJ Ramani, Durai,  Aravind, S Parthasarathi, VP Manivanna, Venkataramana, Ramesh, Mrs Uthra Sarang, Mrs Shobhana Narasimhan, Mrs Jayasudha Sanjeevi were present paying tributes.  Notebooks, prizes were distributed to the children who are now being taught by those who had studied under Sriraj ji.

It was indeed  a memorable occasion – paying tributes to a Man who had devoted his life selflessly in teaching poor students and sharing the podium with a teacher of the Primary school and a research scholar managing the Educational Institutions.  A real tribute to all the glorious TEACHERS who taught us and changed our lives.

Respects, regards and remembrance to all our Teachers on Teachers’ Day 2021.


Today, 5th Sept, should rekindle the memories of another great patriot who underwent untold sufferings at the hands of British…  - Vandanam Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai ~ more famous as VOC or Kappolottiya thamizhan,  was born on 5th  Sept 1872.

Paying tribute to teachers, We also record our respect to the teachers at our   Tuition centre  SYMA Growth, where every year we attempt to change to lives of more than100 poor children. ….. the activities have come to a temporary standstill due to Covid 19 and SYMA  hopes to revive the tuition centre this month. 

As one could have observed in the photo at the start, there were 3 photos – the middle was that of Mr Sriraj, on right is his mother and on left is   renowned scholar and centenarian Mandayam Sri S Parthasarathi Iyengar, the grand centurion of Thiruvallikkeni – who was connected with MOP Educational institutions and who sadly passed away this Apr 2021 at  ripe age of 104! Triplicanites would for sure remember that brisk, measured walk of a grand progressive thinking oldman – who was adept in all modern gizmos including laptops.    

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th Sept. 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Respects, regards and remembrance to all our Teachers on

    Teachers’ Day 2021