Free Helping Hand Talks

Helping Hand Talk – Books as Teachers – Ali Khwaja

03 September 2010, 17.00 - 18.15hrs
Venue : IIWC, Basavanagudi

Download Ali Khwaja's talk on Books as Teachers mp3 file here (size : 58.31MB)

bookThe topic of the day was chosen for its close proximity tobook 5th September marked as Teacher's Day in India. Ali started by asking how many in the audience read something other than the newspaper everyday. He failed to embarrass the audience as a sizable number of hands went up and he was delighted. He spent the first few minutes talking about the human teachers in our lives. He asked us to contact at least one of our teachers on 5th September and chat up with them. He mentioned that the former president of India Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam a teacher himself when he visited Madurai went searching for his ninety plus years old teacher and credited him for his(Kalam's) own success. He mentioned that teachers do their job without any expectations and that is a great feat.

Ali shifted to the topic of the day and mentioned the advantages that books have as teachers. He said books are available all the time and all places for us to learn from. There is no time constraint to learn from a book. We can open a book for ten minutes and then shut it with no protest from the teacher. He said books are always willing to teach on the only condition that we should be willing to learn.
book1bookAli narrated the story of Sarangapani a man born to riches but lost it all to the political turbulence of the day. His family became a pauper and he was driven to the roads. A well-educated man who took recourse to alcohol and his health further deteriorated. This man had a passion for reading and read everything in sight including, food wrappers, torn newspaper etc. When asked why he did it, he explained that everything had been snatched from him in life except the intellectual stimulation of reading. Ali narrated the story to emphasize that all of us who are fortunate to be surrounded by books and even more fortunate to have been taught to read neglect the importance of books in our lives. We do not generally tend to value what we have and we understand their value when we cannot access it.

bookbookAli mentioned that the story of the Emperor's New Clothes although told to children should be read by adults as children cannot understand the concept behind the story. He also elaborated on how the form and structure of the book may change but book reading will not go out of fashion. He invited Kishore who was in the audience and owned a Sony e-bok reader to share the details about the ebook reader. The advent of the e-book further proves how the form and structure of book will change, Ali emphasized.

Ali foresees loneliness as the greatest forthcoming epidemic to hit mankind. He said he already saw sign of it in a laid back city like Bangalore. More and more people will be lonely and if they make friends with books they could be inoculating themselves against this epidemic.

bookbook7He asked the audience to keep at least two books with them all the time – one a serious book and the other for light reading. They could keep flitting from one to another depending on their mood. He also said that if we carry a book with us all the time, we will be amazed at the number of books that we can read in a short period of time which we spend waiting He said we should not hesitate to make notes on the book, draw a figure or add our comments. Books are meant for learning and we should use all tools at our disposal to achieve that aim.

He had the audience in splits when he narrated an incident about Einstein. At a get together Einstein was sharing a table with a young girl who did not know him. When she turned and asked him what he did, Einstein replied, "I am a studying Physics". The girl was surprised and answered, "At this age? I finished studying Physics two years back" Ali said many people think education is over when we bookbookleave college.
Ali distributed a book let on the value of books and he ended the talk by listing our some of his favourite books:
The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Bach, Emotional Intelligence by Golemen, Stephen Covey's Seven effective habits for the family and Stan Covey's Seven effective habit for Teenagers, Khalil Gibran's Prophet, Wayne Dyer's you will see it when you believe it, leo Buscaglia's Love, Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape and Men are from Mars Women are form Venus by John Gray.

Download Ali Khwaja's talk on Books as Teachers mp3 file here (size : 58.31MB)


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Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

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