The teacher is made to believe that he is the disseminator of knowledge. He is not the disseminator of knowledge; he is the preserver and maintainer of the status quo, of the knowledge that has developed in the past, and he is an obstacle to the knowledge that can develop. He does not allow anything to leave the parameter of the past. As a result, we continue to do many types of foolish things. Those old things are not allowed to die. The politician has also understood this, and he is also exploiting the teacher. What is surprising is that the teacher is not aware of this exploitation done in the name of service to the society. How many kinds of exploitation are being done!
Once I went to address a congregation of teachers. It was Teachers’ Day. I asked them: If a teacher becomes a president of a country, what is the honor bestowed on the teacher? In a teacher becoming a president, what teacher is honored? According to me, if a president of a country becomes a teacher, then I would definitely understand that the teacher is honored.
If a president of a country feels that his job is useless and he feels that it is a joy to be a teacher, if he wants to be a teacher and becomes one, we will definitely understand that the teacher is being honored. But if a teacher becomes a president of a country, the honor goes to the politician, not to the teacher. If a teacher feels honored when he becomes the president of a country, is there anything wrong in a teacher wanting to be a headmaster or school inspector or an education minister? There is honor where there is position. There is position where there is the state. Our whole structure of thinking is such that the state is above everything; so the politician is above everything and everything else is below.
The politician, knowingly or unknowingly, makes his thoughts and ideas enter into the minds of children through the teacher. The priest is also doing the same thing. In the name of religious education this is going on, and every religion goes on trying to make their beliefs and tenets, right or wrong, enter into the minds of children. This is being done at such an unripe age, when the children cannot think. There is no greater crime perpetrated on humanity.
What crime can be greater than making the child believe that what is in the Koran is the truth, or what is in the Gita is the truth; or if there is God it is Mahavira, Krishna or Mohammed? To put all such things into the mind of a child who is innocent, ignorant and unacquainted with the world, is a worse crime than anything else.
During the struggle for the independence of India, the politicians said that the teachers and the students both must participate in the independence movement. When these politicians came into power, they said the students and teachers must keep away from politics. The communists and socialists say, “No, it is not necessary for the students to keep away from politics. Both the teachers and students must participate in politics.” If the communists come into power tomorrow, they will say that now there is no necessity for them to take part in politics. Whatsoever is in the interest of the politicians in power becomes right, and an attempt is made to make the teachers and students believe it to be right.
According to me, one can become a teacher in the right sense only if he has within him a powerful, burning flame of rebellion.