TiTs & BiTs (017)
Today, the 5th. September, 2002, has been a memorable Teacher’s Day for me, for I have never had the good occasion of being part of any Teacher’s Day celebration in my entire life. As such, I shall dedicate TiTs & BiTs No. 17 to the man of the day, the good bad teacher Mr. Dnyneshwar Pundalik Pednekar, principal of Smt. Chandrabaga Tukobha Naik Higher Secondary School, Curchorem, who has been awarded the NATIONAL AWARD for the Goa’s best teacher of the year 2002 at the hands of Dr. Abdul Kalam, the President of India, at New Delhi.
And I would’nt call what I attended at the Menezes Braganza Hall in Panjim today as a teacher’s day celebration. It was rather a MANOHAR BASHING DAY, at the mouths, rather than hands of very prominent citizen teachers, lawyers, doctors, dramatists , social workers and others.
I missed the beginning, specially the felicitation of the good MADUSUDAN TARI , the benchmark ideal teacher, who should have been receiving the National Award in New Delhi at the hands of the President of India, instead of a plain bouquet of flowers at the hands of Adv. Uday Bhembre at the Menezes Braganza Hall, Panjim.
And I also missed the good bashing dished out by writer Dillip Borkar and Adv. Satish Sonak. But then, it more than made my day listening to the excellent delivery by Dramatist Premanand Lotlikar. He summed it up with a little story of a rat who tasted a little brandy from the bottle left by his drunk master of the house, enough to make it flex its little muscles to take on the mighty cat while the intoxication lasted. A clear slant at Manohar Parrikar for getting intoxicated with power.
And, the president of all Goa Secondary teacher’s Association, Mr. Ravindra Nagvekar gave a lot of insight to the man called Dnyneshwar Pundalik Pednekar, how his tail had started curving at the very young stage of being a teacher. His open declaration that the association knew nothing about Pednekar being recommended for the award, which in fact should have been its prerogative.
And, Averthanus D’Souza talked about the disastrous consequences that would be unfolded as a chain reaction to this bad government decision. He talked about a little Dutch school boy who , on his way back home from school, saw a small hole in the water dyke and who, realizing that the dyke would eventually collapse, went on to plug that small hole with his thumb. What Averthanus has not realized that Parrikar has no intentions of plugging any holes. He would rather make new and bigger holes so that all the dykes and dams collapses to carry away and drown his opposition in the RSS tidal wave.
And, it was more of a bashing for Goans than for Pednekar at the excellent delivery by Dr. Meenakshi Martins. If Pednekar changed the birth date of his daughter , I too had the opportunity , she said , of changing the birth date of my son joining 1st standard at Don Bosco’s Bombay, to come within the cut-off birth date of just 2 miserable days by filing simple affidavits to save one full year of schooling. I did’nt do it because I did’nt want my child to live a life based on lies, she said. Her religious quotes in chaste hindi was something that I had not expected from a Christian lady doctor. She has asked a very important question, whether Goans are going to take this insult to the teachers, the very foundation of the education, lying down.
And, talking at length about the “BANGODDI” that Pednekar has created in his teaching life was Vaman Vaidya , the social worker and the administrative staff member of the school board. Do not under estimate Pednekar he said. He has the capability of managing the government. He said that the RSS pays its loyal members with awards etc. just like governments pays back its lesser bureaucrats for their loyalty with priority cards to avail of public services etc without waiting in queues. He sited an incident of one such bureaucrat who decided to use his seldom used priority card at the railway booking counter by going directly to the booking window with his card, brushing off the chorus of protests from the line, by brandishing his card. He had to back off when he realized that it was the line of card holders like himself. Meaning? RSS everywhere!
And, the delivery by the Chairman of the meeting Adv. Uday Bhembre was like a hot knife slicing through butter. It would take me pages to put it all down but importantly he asked pertinent questions on government’s morality in this action of recommending a tainted person for the award of the best teacher. He said that in a competition such as Olympics, morality or integrity of the participating athlete does not matter. What matters is his/her performance to get the gold. Whereas, he said, award is something different where every aspect of the life of the person is in focus. He summed up by asking if Pednekar could effectively catch a student copying in the examination hall. If Pednekar could reprimand or penalize a teacher for giving a few extra marks to his/her son or daughter? If Pednekar could, as the Director of Education, as proposed by Manohar Parrikar, pass judgements on erring teachers of schools. “ Who is next?” He asked. “Subash Velingkar?”
And, all the while Aires Rodrigues has been moderating the meeting excellently He insisted, like every one else, that it was not the person of Pednekar that was in question. What is in question , is , the very principle on which this decision is based. A teacher, selected for the national award must be a shining example of goodness in every sense. That awards cannot be political tools. That the morality of the state, nation, is at stake. The commendation that Aires has received for taking the step in the right direction for putting the morality of Goa back on its track, could, by all means, be much more and well deserved. And as for the resolution that has been passed at this meeting, I leave it to Joel D'Souza of goanet to show us the digital recording of the same.
And, I for one, just cannot come to terms with what I heard at this meeting today. That, to be eligible for the national award of the best teacher for the year, one must actually make a written application. If at all, some day, there be a national award going for the best “NON-POLITICAL POLITICIAN” of the year, I have already kept my application ready. Only thing left for me is to get on the good side of our Don Corleone Parrikar-bab for the ticket to New Delhi.