A man who teaches in better ways than experience can, writes seminally, speaks with democratic authority, and feels profoundly for the downtrodden and underprivileged, comes once in a few centuries. A man who is capable of maintaining perfect poise while balancing all these – and still has room left in his schedule for lesser mortals – is rarer still.
The Value of a Teacher
My teacher, mentor, guide, and literary guru, Dr. Ganesh Devy, is all of that and more. To me, he is a man of the rarest substance ever, period.
One of the many best things he has bestowed on me is easy access to him!
I couldn’t sing paeans to him for want of the authority to do as much; this post is meant only to introduce my friends, online followers, and students to the most eminent constituent of my being.
His influence and parallel reluctance to exert such influence have gone a long way toward making most of what I am. My beloved parents are responsible for the rest.
When I studied there, Dr. Devy was the only professor at the English department, M.S. University, Baroda, whose lectures were full house – each time, every time. His lectures went way beyond any attempts at emulation by employees of the department.
The Master’s Voice
I retain and treasure fond memories of his lectures on W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, the Renaissance, and the rest of the history of English literature. At a later time, he would speak so vividly on issues concerning the de-notified tribal populations of India, the listener could have been watching a movie on the subject, though such a movie would not quite be the same thing.
A linguist with a more precise understanding of the dynamics of language and its society never taught a course in India.
This sage among teachers gave to his life and his noble profession the best that anyone possibly could. To speak of his generosity at it would be akin to talking of the light that the Sun showers.
His visitors could easily listen to him for hours, spellbound, and yet leave his presence in a euphoria of the kind the Buddha would have experienced on discovering Nirvana.
But even when I went to his office at the department of English, or later to his office at the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, it was always an indescribable pleasure. I have always experienced breathtaking elation and anticipation at the prospect of meeting Dr. Ganesh Devy.
A Living Ganesh
In an era of dire poverty in comprehension of the dynamics of the English language and perpetual indifference toward all matters pertaining to culture and education, Dr. Devy provided unprecedented insight into language, Literature, society, and their collective fabric. That, I believe, is a very elementary description of the man and his work.
I am a man of humble means and neither deserve nor desire any better. But for sending Dr. Devy my way, I shall remain eternally grateful – to the One responsible. Such gratitude may not repay in the smallest measure my debt to this teacher of teachers.
As George Carlin has famously said:
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. … life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by those moments that take our breath away.
Suffice it to say that Dr. G.N. Devy gave me a treasure trove of those moments.