Throughout India’s history, are its teachers whose examples are cited time and again.

These educationists left behind lessons that went beyond the blackboard and chalk, and have stood the test of time.

Today we remember these legendary teachers and how they made education a right and an instrument for change.

Picture credits: Twitter: @MinOfCultureGoI

1. Jyotiba Phule

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule’s desire to learn was so intense that it is said he read under the light of the stars.  Jyotiba wanted to create a world where caste was not a reason for discrimination. He went on to open a school for girls, to empower women to change the caste notion.

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2. Savitribai Phule

Known as India’s first female teacher, Savitribai Phule is credited with leading a life that set a precedent for all women. There is a story about how she was pelted with eggs and cow dung on her way to school, but that did not deter her from her purpose.

Picture credits: Twitter: @SandhuTaranjitS

3. Gurudev Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore was credited for being a forward thinker and shaping India’s renaissance as we know it. He often spoke of how teachers, instead of being a formidable authority, were supposed to be model citizens and inspire students.

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4. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

The title ‘Vidyasagar’ was bestowed upon Ishwar after he took part in a Sanskrit competition wherein he stunned the audience with the amount of knowledge he possessed. He is known for modernising the education system along with allowing non-brahmin students to enrol in prestigious institutions.

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5. Fatima Begum Sheikh

It is said that when Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule began teaching people belonging to lower castes, they were asked to leave their houses if they wished to continue. They were then offered a place to stay by Fatima, who is also regarded as the first Muslim woman teacher in India.

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6. Acharya Kriplani

Along with being a passionate follower of Gandhi, and the longest-running General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, Kriplani’s role as an educationist put him down in history. During his tenure as a lecturer of English and History at the L S College in Muzaffarpur Bihar, he was actively involved in the non-cooperation movement.

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7. ‘Masterda’ Surya Sen

Given the task of transforming the British schools into Indian national schools, Surya Sen is said to have been a role model teacher. Stories tell of how his students loved the zeal he showed towards the nation, the freedom struggle, and the love he had for the motherland. The same was translated in his lectures.

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8. Pandurang Sadashiv Sane

Sane was known as the National Teacher of India and lived up to these names by the passion he displayed for education. Though Sane had to quit his teaching career to join the freedom struggle, he continued to write books and recite verses while in jail.