Saturday, May 3, 2014

To my students of the batch of 2012-14



Four semesters have ended. 

Again. 

Yet this ‘again’ is more than itself; it has an element of the unrepeatable. I have learnt so much and unlearnt so much. All this thanks to you. 

Education happens on trust. I trusted you; I could just not doubt your abilities to accompany me on the adventure of learning and thinking, of wondering and suspecting, of discerning and judging. And you never let me down. What many high-minded people thought would be beyond your grasp, you held lightly with your simple courage and lucid curiosity. What appeared opaque to the ‘unbelievers’ became translucent in your sure hands.

And you trusted me. I did not, and did not have to, conceal my ignorance from you. I faced you without any mask of the Great and Remote Professor. Still you thought it worthwhile to listen to me and talk to me every day. 

I told you to try and understand, instead of seeking to impress through cleverness disguised as intelligence. 

I asked you to approach the text honestly and directly.I asked you to ask it the right questions – the questions that tell that you are honestly listening to the text. 

I asked you to confront your limitations so that you may overcome them. 

I asked you to see knowledge as a lived reality. Knowledge is not just of the world, but also in the world. And of oneself in the world. And of the worlds in oneself. 

I wanted you to believe that you are more than, greater than, profounder and richer than you think yourself to be. And I saw you becoming more than, greater than, profounder and richer than, and sometimes even other than you were. You changed. You did not just grow up. You created yourselves afresh with your will and effort: you became twice-born, born into critical self-awareness.

I, too, saw myself changing. I underwent self-renewal, and became somewhat another. Thanks to you. 

Learning is a flame that gives light and warmth. It also burns and destroys – for good. A flame that never dies out. 

I hope you will keep that flame alive. In you and around you.

To the bearer of this flame, life is a joy. Even in the darkest nights of struggle.

Be happy, and live well!
Rajesh Sharma
Friday, May 3, 2014