Sri Swaminathan Iyer — a great scholar of mathematics

Krishnaswamy Kesavan

Krishnaswamy Kesavan was born and brought up in a small village and studied in a small town, Kumbakonam, Distt. Tanjore where he attended Native High School. After engineering and management studies he worked in an MNC as Business In charge and technical head for about 29 years and headed a large team. Later he started his own enterprise manufacturing activities making some high end engineering products for domestic sales and export abroad for the last 25 years. The enterprise holds brand equity for products manufactured. Presently he is settled in Mumbai with family.

I am a proud product of the famous Native High School, Kumbakonam, Distt. Tanjore. I owe my present status to my parents and equally to all my teachers. I go back to early 1950s. I lived 9 km one way from my school. I was then in High school doing Eleventh Std.

My class teacher and Maths teacher were same. His name - Sri Swaminathan Iyer, a great scholar, and a man of discipline. He taught us Algebra. I think I was doing well with theorems, and sums on associated riders. I was good at sine etc. My class teacher found me making errors on tangent and co-tangent sums. He was annoyed and made me stand up on the bench for two classes, as I recall now.

Krishnaswamy Kesavan attended the Native High School at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu.

I still made errors. He once again made me stand up on the bench this time for 5 classes. I had to cycle back to my village, a distance of 9 km. That night, I had pain in my leg, and had difficulty in moving around the hip (!) and could not even complain to my parents for fear of admonition!

The next day at school, I was in early at 8.30 am. Until 10:00 my class teacher (a parent in school) taught four students including us: sine, cos, tan, importance, and that aided our solving problems without error. I perhaps did well, and did not need to stand up on the bench once again.

This harsh lesson of “standing upon the bench" followed by the attention given to us by the Maths Teacher Sri Swaminathan Iyer, helped me score high percentage in Maths! This is just the tip of the iceberg for the numerous errors I made during the learning curve. Every time the teachers rallied and bailed me out.

This paved way for a resolution not to repeatedly commit mistakes. If my teacher had caned me, I may not have learnt the lesson. But when I was made to stand upon the bench twice in presence of over 40 students, I was crying internally and to the shame that I had subjected myself to. This lesson and many more simple punishments, had my tail wedged between my legs!

While some parents, are now against, their children to be subjected to simple punishments by the class teacher, will regret later for huge blunders the same children commit when they grow up. Children these days feel and go ahead to do anything that pleases them. I have witnessed many such incidents and I am myself a living proof if one was ever needed,how these simple punishments made me resolve to be a fine student.

I have a training school in my factory and the discipline standards in force are exactly as were in my school days. The Sanskrit saying - Maatha,Pithu, Guru, Deivam - after parents, Guru and then only, God (Deivam). It is a pity that the teacher has to answer either to the parents or in the court if he gives simple punishments to his students.

The teacher has to bring out the best from each and every one of his students. All the known scholars today are the outcome of the hard work by the teachers.

I attended in my later years a teachers’ training programme, to get myself acquainted as to how to be a good teacher. Those who become qualified to be a teacher, commit themselves to be just not a master, mentor but to be the father / mother of the ward when they are in their care during school time. Even after school working hours, we were used to be guided by the same teacher, whom we students thought, was behaving like a Ravan. But actually he was our Ram blessing us all the way to what we are today. My eyes well up when I think of the silent services that our teachers rendered. Even now, when a teacher walks into his class all the 40 plus students are all same for him, irrespective of caste, creed, colour, and riches.

Teachers Day is as important as Mother's Day and Father's Day.


An amazing story! The modern world cannot tolerate such teachers, I think.

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