Great Teacher

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

He had been trained overseas. One of his first assignments had been to teach the young prince how to read the Hadith of the Holy Prophet. He had carried out that task well. The old Sultan had offered him a lifetime freehold of a ripe arable island as a reward. But Basheer had politely refused. He had chosen to remain a teacher. He had no need to prosper as a farming gentleman. In the process, he had correctly guessed that the Sultanate would not last!

When the first elected president of the country declared open the first school for commoners, Basheer applied for a teaching job there. He was appointed one of its first Maldivian teachers. He was overjoyed. He taught not only the content of the syllabus, but also the values of liberty, freedom, equality and brotherhood. Soon, they began calling him The Great Teacher.

After a number of years, the initial batches of students graduated. They went to foreign universities for further education and came back after four years. They began working for the new democracy. Basheer took great joy in their achievements. He felt honored and proud. They still called him The Great Teacher. He believed himself to be a nation-builder.

Basheer’s former students brought home many things from the foreign lands. This included concepts Basheer had only heard about. They brought with them their belief in making the world a global village. They wanted to convince everyone to build a Modern Maldives. They brought new brands of democracy and a free-market economy.

Not too many years later, Basheer’s ex-students started becoming very rich men. They preached that said that it was honorable for every man to use his intelligence to create and amass wealth. Basheer took great joy in seeing how his family of old students had given improved their lot. They had given up the old laid-back style of olden times and were concentrating on practicing what they believed. Now, most of them called their foreign professors Great Teachers.

Youth relinquished its hold on Basheer. Of mellow age, he continued serving his nation in what he still called his honorable profession. Sometimes, he wondered…..

Then, one day, his old bicycle was pushed off the road by the brand-new SUV one of his former students. Instead of apologizing to his old teacher and mentor, the rich tycoon wound down a window and screamed in English at the poor old man, “Look, you old fool! Can’t you see where you are going? Get that piece of rusty shit off the road if you can’t push it right. Stupid old ass! Why don’t you get yourself a decent car?”

“Look my son. It’s I, Mr.Basheer, your old teacher. You should not speak like that to me, or to anyone. Have you forgotten your good Maldivian manners?” Basheer got up and tried to brush the dust off his old trousers.

“I know it’s you. Hey, I owe you nothing. You were paid to be my teacher. You took home your salary. And that was the end of the deal. Like me, you should have also used your intelligence and made yourself rich when you had the chance, stupid old man.”

As Basheer looked at the departing SUV drive off into the distance like a missed opportunity, reality tugged at his cuffs. He knew he had failed his country as a teacher. He felt weak and humiliated. He in realized that all he had done was waste his time in doing the wrong thing. He was no great teacher.

As ex-great teacher, knew what he had to do next. There was only one thing he could do. He knew he had to teach his current students the value of shared goodness in a world where the rich did not control the lives of the masses. He would teach them that private riches were wrong. He would create for them a world which had to glorify the working masses and make them the rightful owners of communal wealth.

He knew that he had to teach yet another generation as Great Teacher. And when his new youth faced the old guard, the former would eventually win by sheer force of numbers. They would then install him as Great Comrade Teacher who had showed them The Glorious Light in fitting abode. They would buy him a People’s SUV and guard him with the People’s Bodyguard.

And he, Basheer, would have taught everyone — even his former students — where real intelligence lay! Where a great teacher would always win!

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  • shifa  On August 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

    very true …very true

  • Maheel Ali Jaleel  On February 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    the morale is stunning as always ….. keep it up

  • mysterystar  On March 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Silently creeping …. but intriguing, the teacher’s tactics!

    • mystery star  On March 22, 2011 at 1:08 am


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