I loved my teacher — my father, Prof. BML Bhatnagar

Author: 
Tilak Mathur

Tilak Mathur is a PhD in English Literature with specialisation in the British poet and playwright T. S. Eliot. Tilak is very actively engaged with social and charitable work in and around Jaipur. Basically a homemaker, she came into her own as a natural leader when she got an opportunity to lead. She lives in Jaipur with her husband Subhash. She often travels to Ahmedabad and USA where her two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren live.

Editor's Note: Prof. Brij Mohan Lal Bhatnagar, M.A., M.Com. was born on 30th December, 1914 at Khurja, District Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. He retired as Principal, Government College, Dausa, District Dausa, Rajasthan. He passed away on August 25, 1994.

When I was born, my father a teacher at heart, Prof BML Bhatnagar was a Professor of Commerce in Government College, Kota. He encouraged his students to do better than before and also looked after their personal issues on a very individual basis. These qualities endeared him to his students. The students came calling at home at all hours seeking his guidance. Babu being what he was never turned anyone away.

My father whom we addressed as Babu, was a mix of stern attitude towards his two children regarding their studies and visionary ideas about their future and their aspirations

As I grew up I was often confused as Babu, a doting father, would suddenly emerge as a strict teacher. No nonsense was tolerated in studies. My brother Subhash would vouch for it.

My father was very keen that his two children should get good education. In mid 1950s/60s the education levels in Kota were at a nascent stage. So in 1958, my father decided that his son Subhash should write the National Talent Search Exam (NTSE). One hundred students from all over India were sent to national public schools with financial support from the government.

My brother Subhash was selected and went to Mayo College, Ajmer. He was happy to be away from the teacher but missed the doting father. He happily went and joined Mayo.

Subhash not only completed his schooling with honours but also went on to qualify for IIT. He was allotted Madras centre. But his ambition was to pursue a management course and he did the family proud by qualifying for IIM, Ahmedabad. He went on to hold many national and International assignments including as a Consultant to the World Bank.

Next, it was my turn. My father the teacher came to the fore again. In the late 19050s, middle class families did not show much care and interest in planning the education of a girl child. But Babu was different. He decided that his daughter would also write the same qualifying exam as her brother and should get schooling in a public school, preferably.

Thanks to some intense coaching by Babu, I too passed the NTSE exam with flying colours and went on to join Maharani Gayatri Devi Public School at Jaipur.

Our family members and other relatives tried to dissuade my father vigorously by putting out all sorts of traditional arguments and the advantages for a girl to stay at home and learn the homily virtues and receive education at the same time.

But my father simply brushed these aside. He firmly believed that siblings should get the same opportunities to ensure future compatibility. His emphasis on education lasted all through.

Subhash, my husband, and I decided to get married after completion of his IRS training. That meant that I had to abandon my Ph.D. mid-way. Babu, on sending me off to live with my husband, extracted the first and the only promise from me. He wanted me complete my thesis as soon as possible. I did it! But after 14 years of my marriage. It was a joy that I shared with my sons Gaurav, 12 and Tushar, 8.

Prof. Brij Mohan Lal Bhatnagar (seated, right) with his wife, Smt. Ramani Bhatnagar (seated, left) and son-in-law, Subhash Mathur (standing, back).

Babu always felt that teaching was the most rewarding profession. He narrated an episode of his early days to demonstrate this.

His first job was at Firozabad as a lecturer in a private college. Amma [my mother] and Babu, just newly married, went to watch a film in a local talkies. Some of his students, who were already there, vacated their prime seats for them. As chance would have it, some local administrative officer walked in with the manager who asked my parents to vacate the seats for the Sahib and requested them occupy seats a little away.

The manager, after some insisting, decided to use force to evict my father. All hell broke loose and the students, who were being restrained by my father till then, came rushing and said, ‘Guru ji will not change seats or else cancel the show.’ The wise officer sensed the power of a Guru and said, ‘Sir, please be comfortable. I am sorry.’ Later, the officer and Babu became good friends.

‘Hail the teacher’!

Comments

Baby the trend setter. Pranav's to him. I educated my five daughters despite peer pressure.

Very happy to read this tribute! Another tribute to him, written by his grandson, is at http://www.indiaofthepast.org/contribute-memories/read-contributions/sto...

I do have fond memories of Mausaji. We had limited interactions with him during his visits to Jaipur. To us he always appeared jovial. I cannot forget his love for sweets and hot chappati from the " choolah ".

MY FAVOURITE TEACHER
When life wanted to bless you, he gave you a teacher. Who is the ultimate gift of God. A teacher is noble, sweet and humble. A teacher is a visionary, a seer, a sage, a saint my favorite teacher mam madhulika is one of those. She is not ordinary, because she makes me extraordinary. She understands me like no one else. The role of teacher in everyone’s life is great as they are the only visual source of knowledge for their student. But mam madhulika is more than that .Mam madhulika is my role model in life infect I want to be like her. she is like my best friend I can share everything with her though she scolds me on my mistake but love me too .I can’t forget things which she taught me and those important lessons of life . Whenever I need a best friend a mentor she is always there for me. She is so sweet, humble, polite and supporting that I cannot forget her .Actually she is the best teacher in the whole universe.
On this special occasion of teacher’s day I wish you “HAPPY TEACHER’S DAY” and THANK YOU for being such a wonderful teacher and also for supporting me, loving me, and also for scolding me. .

Dear Chahat I invite you to directly participate in our celebrations by sending yr write up about yr favourite teacher to subhmat@yahoo.com
Subhash mathur editor

I can never imagine that Birjo Chachaji, as we called him, and who had such a jovial nature could be a strict teacher.

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