To ‘Sir’ with love

 Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius 

As a teacher I always want to inspire my students to want to know and learn more. To give them that first corner and leave them with the excitement of finding the other three.And I often wonder if  other teachers out there wish the same and if not, Why?

Had I not seen this in action and been at the receiving end of this magic I may not have dreamed the same for my students either.  It is this kind of teacher that I have had the privilege of knowing. One who taught me so, that I never realized it happening, who knew me and found ways to engage me with little red seeds for counting and wooden puzzles to solve. Who taught in rooms with no fancy air conditioners and tiled  floors but filled with interesting boxes and dusty books that beckoned you. Who made you feel he was your peer with  the enthusiasm he shared for learning and discovering ,even if you were in fact more than half a century apart in age. Who spoke of truths and facts without judging . Whose very presence attracted us enough to rush from the railway station to the plush homes we were meant to live in for the summer, dump our bags and take the first bus out to a small settlement in Urur village in anticipation of joyful times . Whose aristocratic Grecian  features erupted into a wholesome smile of welcome at the sight of us bedraggled children. I could go on about this man who is still the first name that comes to my lips when someone asks about great teachers. ‘Sir’, as he was lovingly called by one and all, a theosophist, an animal lover, Principal of the erstwhile Besant Theosophical school but most of all an embodiment of patience and respect.

It is to this inspiring man I tip my hat, and to all the others who followed in his footsteps, guided by his example and hope someday I will be able to as well.

Happy Teacher’s day !

“Who’s your SHero?” Essays

We present below the six essays selected for special recognition at “Who’s your SHero?” They will also be published in the Aseema Trust’s children’s newsletter, Chakram-Chakram.

English Essays

Who’s your Shero By:V R Sanjana 1[Bala Vidya Mandir]

Who’s your Shero? by: Sandhya 1[Avvai Home] sandhya 2 sandhya 3 sandhya 4

Who’s your Shero? by:Sameer Barretto 1[Abacus Montessori School] sameer 2

Tamil Essays

Who’s your Shero? by: Reva Saksena 1[Bala Vidya mandir]

Who’s your Shero? by: M Roja 1[Krishnaswamy Matriculation School]m roja 2

Who’s your Shero? by: A Amila 1 amila 2

Who’s your Shero!

‘Who’s your Shero’ was a writing event organized by the Prajnya Trust’s Education for Peace Initiative, during the 16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence in December 2010.

The event involved 6th grade students from various city schools who sent in their essays on the topic, honoring women who made a difference at the community, local or national/international levels.  There were essays commemorating women from all walks of life that truly showcased the strength of women.

The final event  was held at Besant Arundale Senior Secondary School on December 4th where 24 finalists read out their essays in front of their peers and an eminent panel and were awarded certificates of merit. The six finalists, three each for English and Tamil, received additional certificates to recognize their work. All the children who participated  received participation certificates.






The panelists deliberating

The panelists Amukta Mahapatra and VR Devika


The Shero Audience

Students practice their essay

Peace Day

On the International Day of Peace, one cannot but ponder the fact that “Peace” means different things to different people.

I have often been asked what does peace education look like from the inside? Is it just talking about good values and cooperation? Is it teaching one to be proactive about taking a stance? Is it shedding unnecessary judgments and ideas? Is it all of the above?

Here is one viewpoint that comes close to my understanding: “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.” (Robert Fulghum, sourced here.) 

That makes sense to me because peace really is an interplay of skills and attitudes, something you do and something you are, that can be learnt and nurtured through sustained practices.

While I ponder the many facets of this work I wonder what other interpretations I may have ignored. So I want to take this day to bring together all perspectives of the what, why and how of peace education as seen by others, on this platform by inviting posts on this topic. So lets talk Peace, starting today!!!

From Pink Slippers to Peace

Watching four-year olds work out issues through dialogue and seeing boys in pink slippers was at first a revelation and then an inspiration for the Education for Peace Initiative.

The  gnawing thought was, “Where do biases and stereotypes originate?” In turn this led me to question, for example, why some people have a gender bias and I don’t. In this process of self-dialogue or soul-searching as one may call it, I discovered that my gender role models were strong, confident, independent women who I had watched share views on human rights with much passion, as well as enjoy the dance-around-the-trees type romance on screen and miss no opportunity to connect with friends and family, and somewhere the proverbial light bulb was ‘lit.’

It has been a long time since and the work is moving slowly, but the road ahead holds promise.