I am very fond of teaching and I recently got an opportunity to teach Mobile Computing to a bunch of Masters of Computer Science (MCS) course students at the Ferguson College here in Pune. Its quite an experience to manage the weekend teaching sessions with my day job of a software engineer, but that’s matter for different blog.
I would like to share an experience I had during the class last weekend. I had decided to start the class early that day, around 7:30 am. Now that was a first for me too because to be honest I am not used to getting up that early! I was a little preoccupied with what I was going to teach and was trying to set up the laptop and projector for the presentation slides, when suddenly all the students got up. I was initially puzzled, but thought that they might not able to see the screen clearly or wanted to move to the front benches.
But they did not move an inch! I was all the more bemused now. I asked a student as to what the matter was. Seeing my obvious predicament he replied that the national anthem was playing on the college public address system and that they were standing still as a matter of respect for it.
I was taken aback! When I tuned my ears too I could listen to the anthem being played. I now joined them. After it got over everybody sat down and we were ready to start with the business. But before I could do that, I asked myself one question, when was the last time I sung the national anthem?
In the fast paced and digital life we experience nowadays such incidences are a pleasant surprise. Reciting the national anthem used to be a everyday ritual during school days. Then I used to go to the Independence Day celebrations on 15th August at my college for some years after I passed out of there – where I might have sung the anthem for the last time. I used to like it. But eventually life got ‘busier’ with other engagements and I stopped going. Independence Day was reduced to purchasing miniature tricolor flags available on the streets the day before and hoisting them at home, at then forgetting about them in the joy of a getting a holiday from office/work. This attitude needs serious rethinking now.
Ironically the students who stood up in the first place were of the same age group as the people we blame for being selfish and tarnishing our tradition and harmony. We say that they have no respect for elders or society in general and only indulge in the revelries of modern life by taking advantage of the easy money available to them. While this is a matter of opinion and debate, this incident was a reminder that there are exceptions and we should not stereotype someone based on personal prejudices.
Well, I don’t think I am ever going to forget that day!