Thiru VS Raman, teacher par excellence

D Nagarjuna, retired head of department, Government Institute of Printing Technology, Secunderabad, Telangana, pays tribute to VS Raman, who passed away on 11 February 2022.

21 Feb 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

VS Raman

The first time I attended Raman sir's classes as his student was when I was in VII semester. The year was 1978. Earlier, from 1975-78, we used to take instructions from him during practical classes in Monotype and camera sections. In theory, he taught us factory administration. He gave us error-free course material as per syllabus. His class used to resonate with his voice. Winston Churchill was admired for his sonorous voice. We can equate Raman sir with that voice. His diction, body language, and pronunciation were automatic speed-breakers to anyone who was not concentrating in the class. Actually, he never gave any scope for that. The interest he used to generate in the class was the guarantee for pin drop silence. Always tucked in and immaculately dressed, his physique was in tune with his demeanor.

During my time as a student, Raman sir was accessible only to the extent of student-teacher relationship, nothing more or nothing less. But for the outgoing students, he always left behind a charisma and the need to be in touch with him much after studies. Once the students exit the institute and get into employment, marriage, children, it becomes difficult for them to be in touch with their alma mater, and with the teachers they studied under. However, Raman sir was an exception.

I studied at the Institute of Printing Technology (IPT), Chennai nearly 47 years ago. At the time, Raman sir had started his career as a demonstrator. We saw him climb up the ladder. After retirement, he was as active as he used to be while at service. Raman sir made himself an amiable and affectionate once his student became an alumnus. Whenever we visited Chennai and the IPT, it was a must for us to call on Raman Sir.

Since imitation is an art of flattery, when I took up teaching as a career in 1979, I never hesitated to follow his attire, discipline, punctuality and the no-nonsense attitude — important qualities for a teacher. Since then, throughout my journey through various positions in my career both in India and abroad, I was in constant touch with him in tune with the prevailing systems at that given time. This meant I would write letters through ordinary posts, through email, and I was so grateful to WhatsApp that our getting in touch became more frequent, and we could share everything under the sky.

At the age when he was snatched away from us, Raman sir used to put the youngsters to shame in terms of health discipline, habits and daily routine. In fact, when I mentioned to a friend that what baffled me was that Raman sir had no history of smoking, drinking or taking erratic food, and yet he left us in sleep, the former said, may be precisely because of his unflinching discipline, God rewarded him with the most painless exit from this world.

Always positive, once when I told him that I always pray to God to give me a departure from this life like Abdul Kalam, who collapsed while lecturing, Raman sir chided me saying, “Don’t say like that. You are young and have a long life to go." That such a noble soul is no more with us is hard to digest, but then time is the only healing agent everyone has in one's life. Let us all cherish the happiest moments he spent with us and let us all carry forward the excellent qualities he left behind to be seamlessly handed over to the future generations.

Before he left for Canada a couple of years back, I met him and took blessings from him and his wife at his residence. It was the last time I saw him. Later, we were in regular touch through the phone, and a month after he landed in India this year, he called me. I asked him, thinking he was in Canada, what time it was there. With a sense of humour, he said, it’s the same time. I said how it could be. Then he said he was very much in India and I was so excited since I could catch up with him any day. Sadly, that day did not arrive.

When Raman sir could endear himself so much to his students, I can empathise how much his near and dear ones might be missing him. May his soul rest in peace. 

Tags : VS Raman;