The other day, a friend of mine, who is a lecturer in a city college, was asked a tricky question in one of the interviews she had faced: “What is the most important social responsibility of a teacher?”

My friend, later, asked me, “Sir, you have taught for four decades. What would have been your answer?”

I remembered Manushi Chhillar. She had just won the hearts of not only the Miss World judges but of everyone around the world. The final question to her was:

“Which profession, according to you, deserves the highest salary?”

We all got floored by the utterly simple yet mind-blowing answer of Manushi:
“I think a mother deserves the highest respect and when you talk about salary it’s not always about cash but I feel it’s the love and respect that you give to someone. My mother has always been the biggest inspiration in my life. All mothers sacrifice so much for their kids. So, I think it is the job of a mother that deserved the highest salary.”

And, for this answer, Manushi Chhillar, our young fellow-Indian, rightfully deserved the Miss World crown!

So, here I was facing a simple-yet-tricky question – What, according to me, was the most important social responsibility of a teacher.

I tried to emulate Miss World and said, “Helping young minds to be less reactive and more proactive.”

I do not know about the judges, but my teacher-friend loved my answer immensely…

With that, the matter rested!

One of the earliest witty-and-wise answers was given by Ganesha. It was the contest between Him and his brother Kartikeya. To establish their supremacy, both were asked to take three rounds around the world (Globe)… the fastest would be the superior one. Kartikeya sat on his vehicle, Peacock, and set on his journey, right away. Ganesha, whose vehicle was a mouse, knew, that He could not win the race by that way. So, using His wisdom, He decided to take three rounds around His parents, Shiva and Parvati. When His parents asked Him, why He did so, Ganesha gave His legendary reply: “My parents are my world… I do not have to travel any further!”

The crown was, rightfully, placed on Ganesha’s head!

In Jesus’ life, there are many such tricky situations when his opponents, the hardcore Pharisees, tried to trap him… Three such situations have always amazed me…

Sabbath was a day when Jews, as per the old Law of Moses, did not work. It was the day of rest and worship. So, when they saw Jesus teaching on a Sabbath day, they wanted to ask Him a tricky question and expected to trap him.

“Master, according to the Moses’ Law, we are not supposed to work on the Sabbath day. Then, how is that you do?”

Jesus replied, “"If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?"

On another occasion, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus expecting Him to say something against the Roman Emperor, Caesar. “Master, we are Jews. Tell us, should we or should we not pay taxes to the Roman ruler?”

Jesus asked one of them to show a coin. “Whose picture is this?” He asked.

“Caesar’s? they answered.

“If so, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s!”

And, this one, in my view, is the ultimate… The Pharisees have dragged a prostitute woman before Jesus. Each one has a stone in his hand and they are seething with anger. “This woman is sinful and she has offended God. The Law of Moses tells us to stone her to death… What do you have to say?”

They expect Jesus to say something against the Moses’ Law and, thereby, trap Him…

Jesus bends down and writes on the sand this: “The one amongst you, who has not sinned, let him cast the first stone!”

On hearing this, the stones drop from the hands, one by one… and the crowd disappears!

From time immemorial, the wit and the wisdom have come packed in simple answers to some of the most difficult questions…

Maybe, Manushi Chhillar evoked Lord Ganesha’s name at that crucial moment on world-stage. Maybe, her parents did!


Pic.:Anil Bedi


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