My Babuji, Prof. BML Bhatnagar

Author: 
Gurudayal Khanooja

Gurudayal Singh Khanooja, born 1941, belongs to Kota, Rajasthan. He was a bright student and a position-holder during his student days. After 34 years of service, he retired as Chief Mining Engineer / General Manager of Coal Mines at Coal India Limited, a public sector unit. During his service in the coal mining industry, senior management held his views in high esteem. He currently lives in Chandigarh with his family.

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. A tribute to his legacy has also been written by his daughter, Smt. Tilak Mathur and his grandson, Gaurav Mathur

Generally my personal efforts brought good academic results and made me a position-holder at all levels of studies. But when we are growing up, a good guide, mentor, facilitator, and role model is essential to give a proper direction to these efforts. And here comes in the picture, Late Shri Brij Mohan Lal Bhatnagar, with great love, affection and regards called by me as Babuji. Professionally, he was a Lecturer (teacher) in Government College, Kota but my guru in shaping my life. The memories of those days get fresh in my mind on Teachers' Day and I feel like paying my tribute to him on this day.

When we see the trend of celebration of Teachers' Day, I personally feel that by and large it is limited to the relationship between teachers and students at the level of school / college only and also to the teaching of academics in the classrooms. But for an overall holistic development of a person into a good human and a useful citizen, he needs a continuous guidance both inside and outside the school, and here is where Babuji has been so important to me.

Commerce was his teaching subject and I being in the Science stream, he was not my “classroom teacher” in the strict sense of the term. But being in the same college I could see that he commanded a lot of respect from his students as well as colleagues/staff of other departments about his teaching proficiency. One of my relatives who was weak in the subject of Commerce, showed remarkable improvement after being coached by Babuji.

His son, Subhash, was our classmate. A group of 4 to 5 friends used to go almost daily in the evening to their place and spent some time there, thus coming in a very close association. It is said that every place and person carries its own aura and influences those coming in its proximity. The enriching environment and the aura around Babuji had an extremely beneficial effect in our development.

He kept a constant watch on our behavior. He urged us to acquire good human values like truthfulness, mutual trust and cooperation, firm determination, honesty, integrity, humility etc. I remember one specific incident when one of our friends in the group and I fought and went into non-speaking terms. After a few days he lovingly called us and told us to shake hands. I extended my hand but the other friend refused to reciprocate. Babuji gave me a loving pat on my back and appreciated my step. He blessed me by saying “Gurudayal, keep up this habit of humility. It is the most rewarding value.”

A good teacher is also concerned about the long-term future of his pupil and keeps a track of their family situation. This is the aspect for which I remain heavily indebted to Babuji.

Although I was doing fairly well in my studies my family decided that I quit studies after High School due to extreme resource crunch and financial difficulties, and start earning.

Both Babuji and Mataji (Smt. Bhatnagar, a very pious and kind-hearted lady whom I used to call Mataji) were very much concerned, called my elder brother and convinced my family to let me continue with my studies. He deposited my admission form with late fee, and as such I continued my studies to become an engineer, instead of ending up as just a matriculate.

Thus he was like a real “Guru” of the old “Gurukul” system who ensured that we students benefited in a holistic way and not only in academic education.

When we see the teacher-student equation these days, a significant change is noticed. I personally feel that in our days the things were on the much better side. The mutual sense of belonging was much stronger. Teachers took keen personal interest and care of the students. Teachers were treated not just as teaching academics but also as respected father figures.

Things have changed over time and for reasons well known to all. One important factor for this change is the faster-than-expected development in technology, especially in the telecom and Information Techonlogy Sectors. Thus teaching and learning processes have also witnessed a great change and gradually the classroom contact between teachers-students is getting thinner.

However, it is my sincere desire that the teacher-student equation continues to remain as pure and good as it used to be from the ancient age of Gurukuls. Teachers (Gurus) contributed to the holistic development of their students, like for me was my Babuji, Prof. BML Bhatnagar.

Comments

Yes, those were the days when teachers could mould and improve our lives - instead of just teaching subjects. Hard to get back.

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