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Chapter 4: The Three Hour Hope for Humanity

My beloved ones,

In a small village school, the teacher was teaching the story of Rama. Almost all the children were dozing. It is not surprising if children fall asleep while listening to the story of Rama; even grownups nap at such times. A story that has been told and retold so many times loses all sensibility as regards listening to it with alertness.

The teacher recited everything mechanically, not even glancing at the open book before him - he remembered the story of Rama by heart. Even an outsider could have seen that it was as if he were teaching in his sleep. He was narrating the episodes like a parrot, hardly aware of what he was saying.

Suddenly there was a sensation in the class: the inspector of education had arrived. He came into the class, the pupils became attentive, and the teacher started teaching attentively.

The inspector said, “I am happy to see you are teaching the Ramayana. I would like to ask the children something about this story.” Assuming that children easily remember tales of broken things, of fights and things like that, he asked a simple question: “Tell me, children, who broke the bow of Shiva?”

One boy raised his hand, stood up and said, “Excuse me, sir. I didn’t break it. I was away for fifteen days. And I don’t know who broke it either. I want to clear this up right now, because whenever anything is broken or damaged in this school I am the first to be blamed for it.”

This left the inspector amazed. He had never dreamt that someone will have such an answer. He turned to the teacher, who was about to lift his cane, and heard the teacher say, “This rascal is surely the culprit. He is the worst one of all.” He roared at the boy, “If you didn’t do it then why did you get up and say that you didn’t do it?” He said to the inspector, “Do not be misled by this boy’s sweet talk! Ninety-nine percent of broken and damaged things in this school are his doings.”

This amazed the inspector to his wits end. But he thought it better not to say anything, so he simply turned and left the class and went straight to the headmaster’s office and narrated the incident in full. He demanded to know what the headmaster would like him to do about it.

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