Celebrating the teacher

“My Economics teacher is just brilliant – he makes me think outside the box!” My daughter came home brimming with excitement after her day in college. Her enthusiasm made me recollect my own experience with all my teachers. With yet another Teacher’s Day coming up, I thought of some songs that describes this unique relationship of a teacher-student beginning with classical music to other genres.

In Carnatic music, Tyagaraja’s composition “Gurulekha” in raga Gowrimanohari is a popular song heard on the stage. In the song, the composer explains how one can never learn anything without the grace of the teacher. It highlights the importance of a guru’s role in the student’s life. As my own teachers often told me, the learning never stops at any stage and there is so much to imbibe from the teacher.
Listen to Gurulekha in the melodious strains of the legendary Chitti Babu’s veena.

In his Guruguha Vibhakti series of eight compositions, Carnatic composer Muthuswamy Dikshithar extols the virtues of a teacher. The series is one of his early compositions and a tribute to all his gurus. Some of the songs are not heard frequently on the concert platform. Here is a rendition of the rarely-heard Sri Guruna Palistosmi in raga Paadi by vocalist Sumitra Vasudev

Marathi abhangs and bhajans have simple lyrics and high emotive appeal. Listen to a melodious Marathi composition of Sant Eknath rendered by Suresh Wadkar, Guru Paramatma Pareshu.

One can never forget the image of a young Jaya Bahaduri singing in her school uniform along with the rest of her school mates in the epic Hindi movie Guddi. The lyrics of the song Humko Man ki Shakti Dena are inspiring and the song by Vani Jairam along with the movie became a superhit. It reminds me of the innocence of children and the able guidance of teachers.

Here is a moving tribute in English to all the teachers in the world.

I’m going to digress from musical tributes to a powerful spoken word poem by Taylor Mali for teachers. Spoken word poetry which is gaining momentum all over the world is poetry that is performed before a live audience. This poem on teachers is also a family favorite.

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About Chitra Srikrishna 50 Articles
Chitra Srikrishna is a Carnatic vocalist and writer living in Bengaluru & Columbus. Chitra blogs for Sruti, runs the podcast Raga Ruminations and produces RaagTime, a radio show on Indian music. Her albums include devotional poetry of Tamil Alwars & Dasa kritis, & thematic compositions on Rama and Hanuman. She's the musical half of a multimedia performance duo HumRaag. Her program BHAKTHI explores the journey of the mystics of India. Her latest Antah Prerna -A Musical Telling of an Entrepreneur's Journey debuted at Bangalore International Centre in 2018.