It happened… Dr. Radhakrishnan was one of the presidents of India. Before he became a president he was a vice-chancellor, and before he became a vice-chancellor he was a professor. Because a professor, a teacher, had become the president, his birthday was celebrated all over India, particularly in religious institutions – schools, colleges, universities – as a teachers’ day.
In my university also, a great celebration was made. The vice-chancellor spoke in golden words about Dr. Radhakrishnan, that it is a glory to every teacher, a dignity to every teacher, that a teacher has become the president of the country, and many other prominent professors spoke.
I could not tolerate it any longer. I was not supposed to speak, for the simple reason they knew that I am not reliable; what I will say may disturb the whole thing. But I stood up and I said, “Without me speaking this celebration will not be complete.” So the poor vice-chancellor, although his face became pale, invited me to speak.
I said, “This is such an absurdity that has been told to you by so many people,from the vice-chancellor, from all the deans, from all the senior professors. Cannot you see a simple thing, that a teacher has become a politician? It is a degradation; it is not respect. A teacher does not find himself dignified as a teacher – he wants to become the president of the country. This is not a teachers’ day. I will call the day ‘teachers’ day’ when a president resigns and joins a school and starts teaching there. That will be the teachers’ day. The logic is so simple, that he respects teaching, and loves teaching, more than being a president.”
The vice-chancellor and the professors who were sitting on the stage were so shocked, because all the students, the whole crowd, clapped. They were agreeing with me. Just these few idiots were not clapping. I said, “You should start clapping. Can’t you see, everybody is clapping, and you look so stupid not clapping.” And you will be surprised – they started. What else to do? And when they started, then the students started dancing and clapping. I said, “Now the celebration is complete; otherwise, what celebration was it?”
CHAPTER 13. OF LOVE OF ONE’S NEIGHBOR
Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance