Saturday, February 17, 2018
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The University reopened on January one but there were hardly any classes held. According to one newspaper, teachers were there but not bthe students. So they did not teach. The students had not returned home from winter vacation.

Some might have been busy with exam preparations. But if they were 100 per cent sure that teachers would take classes, many of them would have gone to the lecture theatres.
Incidentally, another report says that not all teachers had rejoined after the winter vacation.  In fact many teachers had gone on long holiday availing themselves of the LTC facility. ‘Most of them had not returned’. If that be so, can we blame the students?
There were times when teachers were not bothered about strikes and would take their classes if that were possible. Dr Bachchan, who was teaching in the English department, had just returned from UK and  was to leave permanently  for Delhi the next year. He was in a real teaching mood. He was taking zero period seminar of BA Final students in the KPUC hostel when the peon came and conveyed to him the news about the closure of the campus.  He  also learnt that the University gates had been locked as there was students strike. Normally, in such circumstances, any other teacher would have  dispersed the class an asked the boys to go home. But Dr Bachchan did no such thing. I was one of the students present in that seminar class. Dr Bachchan looked at us with a smile that was indicative of his strong determination not to be  perturbed. From 9.40 am till I pm he took our class, completed the course and subjected us to a terrifying test as well. No one could move out. For three hours and 20 minutes we sat there almost dumb with fear. Whom he would question next was the suspense. It so happened that he selected a poetry of Mathew Arnold and told us that the poet would used italic letters for words he wanted to particularly emphasise in his verses. ‘I will read out a verse and you will have to tell me which two words are in italics’. He began with one student, then the second, then the third  but none could give  the correct  answer. What is more, Dr Bachchan would change the verse each time so that by the process of elimination of the previous boy’s mistake, the next one may not stumble upon the correct answer. I was the last one left. He told me that the seminar of the previous class, Prof Y.Sahai, had told him that ‘You are the best of the lot’—something that was quite a thriller for me. But here was I, trapped in what seemed to be an impossible situation. Dr Bachchan read out two lines, saying that I must repeat the lines and then guess what those two words could be that had been italicized.  I was almost shivering. My prestige was at stake. What if I failed? He will go and tell Prof Sahai: ‘He is like the rest’. I  keenly heard Dr Bachcnan recite the verse. Nervously I pointed out the italicised word in the second line first. Dr Bachcan said, ‘Yes...Yes..yes...’ encouraging me in such a frightening tone that I almost got panicky. Then finally I told him about the italicised word in the first line. Loudly he saidm, ‘Y..e..s’.It was like an umpire in the field telling the batsman at 99’. You have completed the century.’ DR Bachchan was very much pleased. And do you know what reward we got before he left?  Well let me first tell you of an earlier encounter with him. We had requested him to recite for us a couple of lines from his well known poem. He had then flared up and said,’I am here as Bachchan the teacher, not Bachchan the poet. If you want to listen to the poet then attend some Kavi Sammelan that I may be attending’. After that we never dared to ask him. But since he was leaving, he told us. ‘Well boys, today I will fulfil your pending request’. We became silent. And the poet recited ‘Madhushala’ for us. All fear and fatigue vanished. Such were the teachers of yester years.’ Kahan gae voh log?'

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