Tribute by Anbarasan

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A Tribute to My Beloved Professor
“The learned teacher makes you enjoy learning; On leaving, makes you keep thinking of his teaching” – Thirukkural–394

Sitting on a wooden sofa, this dhoti-clad, bare-chested, betel leaf munching teacher loved only one thing in life –imparting knowledge to his students. Day and night, this selfless and dedicated soul derived pleasure from teaching his students who came from diverse backgrounds. His knowledge was fathomless and his kindness was unparalleled. His house was a real Gurukulam inside Madras Christian College campus and I was among those fortunate ones to learn from our beloved ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam.’

Prof Vishnu Bhat was a real Karmayogi – dedicated to his work and he never expected anything in return. Singlehandedly, he induced change into the lives of hundreds of students like me at MCC. People talk about social justice but he practiced it in his life. He knew no boundaries and reached out to anyone who wanted to learn. In that respect, he was an institution in himself. Nothing gave him more happiness than seeing his students succeed in various walks of life. In fact, he used the success stories of our seniors to motivate us. His motto was simple – keep giving.

He showed people like me a way of looking at life through literature, both Sanskrit and English. I still fondly remember our late night discussions on ecological thoughts in Indian literature and how our ancestors lived as part of Mother Nature, rather than trying to conquer it. His enthusiasm for learning is unmatched – either reading a new book on Sanskrit drama or finding the last word in the Indian Express cross-word puzzle. It was a great honour for my family to host him when he came to see the Mahabharata performance in my home town in the early 1990s.

Professor Bhat and Mrs Radha Bhat were the ideal couple. Those who had the privilege of frequenting Sir’s house will know the true meaning of hospitality or ‘Virundhombal’ in Tamil. In that respect Mrs Bhat was a real ‘Annapoorani’. Every time I visited Chennai, they received me and my family with the same warmth and affection. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than touching the feet of these two great souls to get their blessings.

Sir, we will miss you. Our world is not the same without you and madam. There are no words to describe what you have done to us and we are indebted to you forever. No doubt, your teachings will continue to guide us in our journey. “Your life is worthwhile because you lived for others.”

Anbarasan Ethirajan
Student of Professor Vishnu Bhat