She taught me to read and write. She taught me to love. She taught me to live. She taught me to be me.
My mother, who was a teacher to thousands of students, in her 35+years of teaching career, was my first teacher. She will always be my teacher and mentor, wherever she is.
I am not sure how good a student I have been, but I will continue to try. Because she also taught me to learn, and keep learning always. Learn from my mistakes and learn from others’ mistakes too. Learn from my failures and learn from my accomplishments too.
It was in 1998 when I wrote my first “book”, aka my doctoral dissertation. All 200+ pages of that book were dedicated to my parents.
Years passed and I wrote many things — essays, book chapters for academic volumes, articles for academic and other journals, print and online magazines.
And then the time came to write another book. It gives me a very special joy when I open the first few pages of the advance copies of my newly released book, ABC’s of Indian National Education and see this:
This book is a call for an educational approach that values the Spirit and builds upon India’s timeless wisdom of a life-affirming and living spirituality.
An educational policy bereft of the grand civilizational values of India reduces citizens to humdrum workers aspiring to nothing more than material security. This book provides the grounding essential to make Indians not just masters of the knowledge of the external but keen pursuers of knowledge eternal and internal. Literally covering the issue, from A to Z, Dr. Mehra lays the groundwork for rethinking and re-framing India’s educational policy.
This book speaks of infusing Indian education with the Indian spirit. While it is inescapable that children have to pick up future careers, the author is opposed to making education strictly careerist, where childhood is suppressed and learning becomes mechanistic, soulless and joyless.
This book compels us to take a closer look at some of the fundamental issues regarding Indian education. Presenting the arguments with a modern approach, the book is deeply influenced by Sri Aurobindo’s insights into the essential spirit of Indian culture and Education. All those interested in the future of Education in India and elsewhere will find it thought-provoking.
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As I look at the book jacket and flip through the pages I see some errors, and after the first few minutes of self-criticism I remember what my mother always used to say — ‘now that you have finished your work, let it go, don’t think too much about it, nobody can get it all right, learn from your mistakes and move on.’
And so with this book done, I move on to other projects and other works, remembering her love and with full assurance that she is blessing me from wherever she is. My mother, my first teacher whose love for learning and teaching inspired me to do my best as a teacher, remains the reason for my passion for Education.
I wrote this book in gratitude and memory of all my teachers — past, present and future — who have shaped me into what I am today.
I offer this to That One Teacher who is Present in All.
Linking this with ABC Wednesday, T: T is for Teacher