Till today what has been the work of a teacher? What work has the society taken from the teacher? Society says that we are taking the work of teaching and educating our children from the teacher. But on looking deeply it is found that the society also takes the work of passing on all the old diseases, blind beliefs and false knowledge into the minds of new generations, through the teacher. The society does not tolerate a teacher who is revolutionary, because the day the teachers become revolutionary a new society will be born. The teachers becoming revolutionaries can become the basic cause for the change of the whole society. That is why an attempt has always been made not to allow the teacher to become a reactionary and retrogressive. He is given a lot of respect, it is true, but society gives that respect to the teacher only while no ray of rebellion is seen in him. If a ray of rebellion is seen in him, the society begins to strangle his throat.
You may be surprised to know that from the world of teachers, no revolutionary thoughts, no new vision, no new views have ever arisen. The society has always tried to keep the teacher from becoming a revolutionary because it is one of the largest and the most powerful groups of people, and in its hands are the minds and souls of the new generation. If the teacher becomes a revolutionary it will cause a break between the old and the new society, because it is the teacher who hands over the old society into the hands of new society. The teacher is the middle link through which the past enters into the future. The teacher can do a lot, but perhaps he does not even have any such idea as being the forerunner of a revolution.
Up till now the teacher has put all his energies only into adjusting the mind of the new generation to that of the old generations. He has tried to implant the beliefs and attitudes of the old society into the minds of the new generation so that those old ideas reach into the bloodstream of the new generation. The old society respects and honors the teacher just because he is the basis for saving the past. The day the teacher would be rebellious, a new society can be born every day, and the new generation can raise its eyes towards a new life.
But the teacher is not rebellious. In my view, a teacher who is not rebellious is not a teacher at all, and he loses the right to be a teacher. How can a teacher be a teacher who is not rebellious? Without being rebellious, the eyes do not open in the direction of knowledge. Without being rebellious, the soul of man does not come out of its shell. Without being rebellious, one cannot remain in step with life.
Can an education, a knowledge, which does not give birth to the independent soul of man, ever be called education, knowledge? It can be a burden, it can be just information, it can be learning but education, never. Education should become the discovery of the soul, but it has not happened like that. The teacher has not yet acquired the attitude of a rebel. That is why the old, rotten society continues to live. What has already died remains alive in some form or the other.
In India, this has become the most unfortunate happening of all. India has not even changed its old clothes; the question of changing its soul is very remote. The whole history of India is the history of non-rebelliousness. No revolution has taken place, no transformation has happened. When a society does not pass through revolutions, its life remains no longer a flowing stream but becomes a closed puddle which rots and stinks. It is just full of mud and stink because of lack of flow. There is a life like a river running towards the unknown ocean, passing through hills and valleys and crossing unknown plains. One life is like that of a river flowing towards the ocean, and there is another life like that of a pond, closed within itself, not moving anywhere.