We were fortunate to have many good and dedicated teachers in the Mazharul Uloom High School, Ambur where we studied more than four decades ago. That period is still green in our memory. We cannot forget our teachers who taught us with all care and attention. Every teacher had his own special characteristics, which impressed and inspired us and even now we cannot but remember and respect them very much.
Prophet Mohammed (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) gave importance to education and teachers. Once he came across two circles of people. The first circle was supplicating to Allah and the other was listening to a discourse by a teacher. The Prophet said “ The first circle is begging God who may or may not give them what they want but the second circle is getting education from a teacher. I have been sent as teacher.” He joined the second circle. This shows that the Prophet gave preference to teachers and education. There are many examples of him giving priority to teachers.
In this write-up I would like to share my impressions about the late Janab V. Mohammed Zackeria sahib, a dedicated and well-known teacher who served in the Mazharul Uloom High School for more than 40 years and left his indelible shining marks. He was affectionately called “Zackeria Hazrath”. He was actually a teacher with a difference. To him teaching was a mission. He taught his pupils with all seriousness, care and attention. He was very scientific in his words and deeds. He endeavoured his best to make every boy a “gem” in discipline and education. He never tolerated laziness and wanted his pupils to be alert and hard working.
Zackeria Hazrath was not only a teacher, but also a reformer par excellence. He was well versed in Urdu, English, Tamil and Hindi languages. He was good in Arabic and Persian also. Interest of the community was dearer to him. He was a serious person, an authoritative one. He “ruled” us and wanted every one of us to study well and benefit from the school without wasting any time.
He had modern thinking and always opposed superstitious beliefs and revealed in his own inimitable Urdu language how soothsayers, sorcerers, astrologers etc. hoodwinked innocent people for the sake of money. He advised us not to believe them and understand things properly using our intellect and wisdom. He was dead opposed to blind following in any matter.
Zackeria Hazrath’s literary taste was immense. He never failed to correct even the spoken language of his pupils whether it was Urdu, English or Tamil. His pupils as well as their parents were careful while talking to him. He disliked the colloquial and wanted everyone to speak chaste Urdu in its sweet and beautiful form. He used to say “Urdu ka khoon mat karo.Miyan” ( Don’t kill the Urdu language.)
The following “rubayee” penned by him shows his noble thoughts. We have to understand it in the proper perspective and respect the plural society in which we live.
“Ya rub hai teri her jagah hasthi,
Paatha hai thujko daaraa-e-beenaayi,
Masjid mayn Muslim Mandir mayn Hindu,
Karthay kalesa mayn wird hain Easaayee”
O God, your existence is everywhere,
Knowledgeable persons are able to find you,
Muslims in the mosque, Hindus in the temple
And Christians in the church pray to you.
One day Hazrath wrote this “rubayee” on the Black Board in the class room and said that “after all everyone is worshipping the same God”. People like me still remember it because of the beautiful thought expressed therein. It is a powerful thought and this thought is necessary for all Indians where different religious people live happily. We cannot forget this great teacher under any situation. He is no more now. But everything he taught us so happily and so seriously, sometimes even with anger, is in our memory in tact. It is impossible for us to forget him and his wonderful and revolutionary teachings. May Allah rest his soul in peace.
(Writer’s e-mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org)