Great teachers of Mishthila: Rajbanshi Babu, AK Dutta ,etc.
Last evening I went to meet Dr. Kashi Nath Jha, retd. GM,SAIL whom I could not get on phone despite calling several times. I wanted to remind him for his article on Prof. Uma Charna Jha, a retid prof. of philosophy who expired recently.
Personally I do not believe much on phone and prefer to meet personally if at all possible. Dr.K,N Jha’s residence is quite near to my work place and in fact on 5th Nov. I had gone to his quarters also but did not step on stairs thinking that I will have to eat again something after abdomen full Chhati parna.
That dose of sweets I had yesterday but weightier were the talks I had with him on Prof. UC Jha and then many teachers of his days in Madhubani’s Benipatti area with which I am also emotionally attached as of my ancestral district and more so the place of my ex-sasur and many others who were brilliant students and now a shining name in their respective fields.
Let me say that Kashi Babu is a noble soul who has anchorage to ancient Maithil tradition. Though a brilliant student(Ninth in Bihar, including present Jharkhand in 1963 batch of matriculation from a village school of Benipatti; he had BTch from BIT, Sindri but also famous in our locality of Ranchi for an expert horoscopist.
The talk started with Dr. Manikant Thakur of USA and Kashi Babu said that his elder brother Roopkant babu was a teacher in his school who had a free mind and had equally literary flair like Manikantji. He had written a book of poetry in Hindi, “Motikan,” where he had commented on his headmaster Rajbanshi Babu:
“Sitpitatee Gilhari kee doom see
Apaki munchhen kavayad kar rahee..”
At other place n the book lines were:
“Pet kya 5 number balloon hai
Kesh chhati me jahan sailoon hai..”
But Rajbanshi was a teacher par excellent, a strict disciplinarian, who in fact uplift the area( uddhar kay delathi elaka ke).
I was surprised how a teacher can do uddhar of any area?
Kashi Babu said that in present era no one could believe that a teacher in winter season standing on the grass of ground would teach( English and mathematics) boys till 9 am and that too without any money and then will go to house(nearby Behta or Benipatti) and being ready will be again in the school by exact 10 am!
He was an ideal teacher and knowing it I mentally saluted him who were really nation builders not the leaders! In his time some 20 students in a batch from his school used to get first division, even third divisioner of his time are hoisting flags in their area today! His students include many stalwarts of today in various fields(like my ex-father in law who later topped in the Indian School of Mines and retired as CMD from Coal Inda Ltd.).
Rajbanshi babu’s son Nunuji is a dentist and eldest son, Narendra, an engineer, retired from Coal India, his son-in law, Vashishtha, from nearby Sarisab village(recently I crossed during cycle March in October 2008) is on a senior post in Bharat Alumunium.
Rajbanshi babu was elder brother of Dr. Baidyanath Jha, the great socialist leader who also became a Minister in Janta regimen. I had taken his blessings for Mithila work when I was on my first padyatra of Mithila in 1993,
Rajbanshi babu was a great teacher, he excelled some great teachers of his time like Ramkrishna Jha, Jhingur Kunwar (incidentally I saw both of them- Ramkrishnababu was once traveling on a side seat of me in a Darbhanga bound bus and with Jhigur Kunwar I had strolled at Laheriasarai when someone told me that who he was!).
I asked Kashi Babu who were 2.5 teachers in the then Darbhanga district in which one was Siddhinath Mishra of Gonouli whose Golden English Grammar was famous. Kashi Babu said Rajbanshi babu must be one of them and maybe Radhakant Mishra of Kamtaul whose English grammar was also famous and Sundar Babu of Belaunja.
Then I asked him about Arun Kumar Dutta , Principal, RK College. Kashi babu said he exactly remembered the date 20.6.1963 when Kashi babu had gone to him for his admission with an application for freeship he had asked his marks and knowing that he was a board IX ranker with 778/900 marks - immediately wrote on the application,” full freeship and half mess charge free in Heera Hostel and all books from poor boys’ library!”
He was a great teacher who had bent back but was teaching mathematical topics like progression superb in PUC classes..during examination time he used to teach some 300 sums one by one, telling how to approach if that was asked and he used to be a setter and 90 % questions must be from there). He was a great human with a kind heart!
Kashi babu was of the opinion that Govt. take up of schools during Jagannath Mishra’s chief Ministership wrecked the sincerity of schools which though provided substantial money to teachers they forgot their duty to their students!
In his time there were some famous school- Watson was of course one where Chandranarayan babu was famous headmaster. Madhubani’s other JMSS(famous as Suri on caste name of Suris ) though said in ligher vein as Jaral Maral Saral Sarathi School but from there Umesh Naryan Panjiyar of his batch of 1963 stood third in Bihar Board who is now Secretary, GOI. Dyodh school(Ghogadiha) was also famous for results and so Jawahar School of Madhepu(I think sometimes in 1990s I have seen its campus while I was going to Rasiari to meet legendary Laxman Jha) and had gone to Dyodh to meet Jeevkantji who was a school teachr who got Sahitya Akademy award also.
Kashi babu’s batch mate Yogendra Pathak Viyogi stood fifth who was director in the Bhabha Atomic Centre and headed Cyclotron project at Kolkata before joining Institute of Physics at Bhubabeshwar as its director. His batch mate Shivanand Jha was one position above him(VIII in Bihar) who hailed from my ex- sasur , damodarpur and became a civil engineer who was bahinoi of my teacher Dr. Mohan Mishra.
Though my note has exhausted on t not the memory which is being bombarded by thrilling account of such teachers and students and at times I think as to why I was not a student of such teachers though some of my teachers at Forbesganj were equally devoted. Sometimes I also think as to why I did not read in any village school or lived in village- my town was encircled with villages but that was a business town. While going to village I always use to play and read in schools of Jeebach, Pandaul or Madhubani..and sometimes of Northbrook Jila school, Raj School or Saraswati School (M L Academy which surprisingly npt producing MLAs but was named on Maharani Laxmivati academy)..
I had later known about Shcools of Khirhar and of course my maternal place famous Koilakh’s school . About Loha I knew and saw recently and so many more schools of Mithila where I love to go and even have stayed some nights with students.
At Arer High School in 1993, I had said to teachers that time to make history had come like one old teacher in his 80s had told while Japan was in war with Russia in 1905.
But the history maker for Mithila can only be such teachers whom I have just mentioned with honour.
I tried to search some very poor but brilliant students through examinations at Madhubani and Saharsa in 2008 but was surprised that the score was around 30/150 and those too were coming from pucca houses.
I am not so fortunate like AK Dutta to get any Kashi Junior maybe because I myself am not like Dutta or Rajbanshi who opted for teaching but went to green pastures of medical world but till Mithila(and country as a whole) will have many more Rajbanshis, Roopkants, Siddinaths, Radhakants, Sundars, Ramkrishna, Jhigurs it will not be one Manikant or Mahesh dreams from US or me even being in India..
(The story of Maithil college teachers- A. Jha, B Jha, C Jha, D Jha, at Patna University and so UC Jha of Ranchi sometime next if find time and so of CB Choudhary, Vishnukant Jha like brilliant engineers from BIT, Sindri..).