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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Remembering the schools I studied, my teachers, and VO Chidambaram Pillai - Teachers' Day 2023

The first instance of  our loving Black !  - it is the white chalkpiece knowledge imparted on School black board ! – what a magnificent edifice this !!


Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is the thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing  one’s  gratitude.   In every Society, Teachers are to be respected most.  In our culture, they are reverred highly.     

சுமார் 50 அல்லது 60  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.  

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 ??    

5th Sept is a special day - …and those in Chennai – know well this road connecting Beach Road [Kamarajar Salai] from Gandhi statue to Gemini flyover [Anna Membalam] …… is Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, earlier known as Cathedral Road.   In India, today  5th Sept, is Teachers Day… in many countries, it is a special day appreciating the role of Teacher… but the World Teachers’ Day is distinctly different, for it is on Oct 5th. 

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!  - 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.


The plaque at the famous Red building reads – opened on 12.3.1898 – by Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE –the then Governor of Madras whose career also extended to   Sierra Leone,  Natal,  Ceylon and  Tasmania.  The board at  famous Red Building at 149 Big Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600 005,  read : “Be Proud of Your School – Let your School be proud of you (by your deeds)”


A landmark by itself – an imposing structure - bricks and saffron coloured walls with Indo-sarsenic architecture has inspired many and created many worthy students.  Hindu High School was  founded in 1852 as Dravida Patasala for Tamil boys;  later amalgamated with The Hindu Andhra Balura Patasala for Telegu boys. The school was for long, considered as one of the best schools in the Madras Presidency and was once the feeder school to Presidency College, another institute of formidable repute of yore. The School boasts  of many  illustrious personalities  and has had great teachers shaping the destiny of hundreds of students.   Though there is so much of history, the unsavoury fact is – the no. of students are dwindling year by year and some rooms are kept locked for they are no longer required. !!!


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. 

SYMA has an unsaturated desire for serving the Society. SYMA [Srinivas Youngmen’s Association]  has been in the field of Social service since 1977.  At SYMA, we realize that  Education can refine a person and ensure one’s success in life.   We at SYMA, feel strongly the primary responsibility  of improving the Society and helping the underprivileged.  6th July 2008 was indeed a very auspicious day ~ for on that day Mr. R Sekar, IPS, Commissioner of Police launched our Tuition Centre ‘Growth’  and a right beginning was made.


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. …..  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th Sept. 2023


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