Dear K. C. Jose Sir,
First of all let us chant the prayer together: “…O Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand and to be loved as to love. For, it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning we are pardoned; and it is in dying to self we are born to eternal life.” Now I prostrate before the Himalayan Kingdom - Bhutan which has been an embodiment of my spiritual abode and light. I bow to my Little Buddhas (students) who have been the main cause for our connection, living, learning and growing together in Bhutan. I bow to the Tsa-Wa-Sum with profound gratitude for its grace, which blessed and enriched me with such an igniting friend, a superb English teacher and a fine human being. Indeed, a great gift of God.
Jose sir, from the bud of a humble teacher in 1986 at the then Shaba Junior High School, Bhutan, you blossomed into a brilliant English Lecturer at Samtse College of Education, Bhutan. And now the Govt. of Saudi Arabia is taking you as an English Language Trainer. This is another leap in your career ladder - well deserved by you. As far as I am concerned you made a tremendous contribution in shaping countless Bhutanese children and thereby building the Bhutanese education and the nation at large. I am proud of you. Congratulations on your achievements! A myriad of thanks are due to you for your sacred service to the Holy Himalayan kingdom. I thank the Royal Govt. of Bhutan for providing you the scope for your expansion and promotion. From your life and attitude I have learned that the surest way to climb higher altitude in life is to help others rise higher. You have become known not only in Bhutan but also in India for your burning thirst and zeal to kindle the light of knowledge, education and motivation in others for their rise and light in life. Your generosity in sharing your wealth of knowledge and skills is beyond description.
I found magic power in your art of teaching, especially poetry. I have been transformed in the world of poetry by the dance, music and emotion of your voice in chanting those immortal Wordsworthian lines: ”……..And then my heart with pleasure fills, / And dances with the daffodils.”It was in 1998 winter at Khuruthang Upper Primary English Workshop. Since that day I have become a different English teacher. Churning the sea of poetry and searching for the pearls within is now my passion and devotion. Today, when I teach poetry to my Indian students, many a time streams of tears roll down the faces of the teacher and the learners, out of joy and emotion. One day a lady of B.A. 2nd year exclaimed in tears: “Sir, today only I came to learn about the amazing hidden treasure in poetry.” I replied: “This is the magic effect of the art of K.C. Jose’s poetry teaching.”
I was a teacher at the then Nangkor Jr. High School when fortune descended on me to be in contact and company with you. Before that I was at a remote school, Tsebar Primary School, under Pemagatshel district of eastern Bhutan when God had blessed me with the kind and compassionate hand of Mr. John Wood, English Language Adviser, England, who was based in Thimphu. That was a different Bhutan - without modern communication technology. My terrifying subject English became a terrific subject by virtue of Mr. John Wood’s artistic teaching at Sarpang Winter Workshop in 1989. After going back to the school, for several years I had sent every slightest doubt of English to Mr. John Wood by post, who was so kind to reply and clarify my doubts by post. Each of our question/answer letters took weeks and sometime months to get to each other. But though it was known as a backward world, none of the letters we exchanged got lost or remained unanswered. So much trust, faith and love developed between me and Mr. John Wood through our teaching –learning process. My gratitude to Mr. John Wood knows no bound. His letters now is part of my International Library at home.
After his departure from Bhutan, God had carried and dropped me to your loving heart and serene hand. As the Providence willed, we met at the Khuruthang workshop. I was a participant and you were a facilitator. Khuruthang Workshop kindled a new light in me. My teaching-learning zeal and zest, especially in poetry, gained new heights. After the workshop you went back to your Teacher’s Training College, Paro, and I went back to my Nangkor Higher secondary School. Since then I have begun exchanging letters with you for clarification of my doubts and to learn the new art of teaching. You clarified my doubts and replied every letter earnestly and lovingly. I remember the first thing wherein I had sought your help. It was my challenge in teaching the poem: Sarojini Naidu’s “PALANQUIN BEARERS”. I was able to express even my silly weaknesses in the letters openly and unhesitatingly for your generous attitude and approachability. By your prompt handwritten reply and splendid explanation of the poem I was illuminated that the flame of my learning was refueled. I went on sending my doubts and queries and you answered everything untiringly. You have been a surest encyclopedia to me.
You became such a sparking force that I began to dream to be a writer. I wrote my first article entitled: ”Art of Living In a Remote Village” in 2005 at the Class IX-XII New English Curriculum Orientation Workshop at Y.H.S, Thimphu. My presentation and content was liked by our the-then CERD Director and later Education Minister T. S. Powdyel. The Director had advised me to get the article edited by you. I was marveled at the minister’s faith in your sincerity and English strength and happily handed my crude work to you for refinement. You had edited the work at a computer speed but with loving human touch. Under the Director’s care, it was published in the RABSEL and I was sent a copy. Since then the stream of my writing has flown uninterruptedly and you went on pruning and manuring my work unfailingly. I ruminate the day when you travelled from Samtse College of Education to my house at Chukha Upper Terrace, P/VII-10, carrying a bundle of my hand written articles edited by you in your humble Maruti Van which is a symbol of your humility. You were on the way to Thimphu. You valued my raw write-ups so much that it has boosted by self-esteem as a writer. Your feedback is so humble, positive and motivating.
You have also edited my countless expressions through phone and mail and answered hundreds of queries regarding English. By virtue of your positive motivation, I have been able to cast off all my fears, shame and hesitation in the matter of learning. I never felt ashamed of asking my doubts to you over mobile even in front of my students in the classrooms and in the presence of my colleagues. I do not like to digest doubts. I believe in the philosophy:”By asking doubts if we become fool for five times; by not asking we will remain fool life time.” I sought your help to correct my pronunciation while conversing with you and you did it humbly and earnestly. The more I opened myself to you and revealed my weaknesses the more you showered your support, love and, respect in my learning and the more our trust and friendship towered. There were times and days when we discussed poetry over mobile phones even for an hour disregarding its financial impact, and you shared your wealth of poetry generously, patiently and altruistically. The more you enriched me, the more effectively and lovingly I was able to serve my little Buddhas of Bhutan. I believe in the philosophy of Tagore: A lamp cannot light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.
In 2013 while leaving Bhutan, I wanted to quit quietly without any fare well or recognition from anyone, even without your knowledge. For that, I did not consult any of my friends or well wishers including you while submitting my resignation. But God willed differently. Like you, many friends came to know about the resignation. You were quick to extend your head, heart and hand for my befitting send-off. To make it a ceremonial event, you informed the media and spoke to the-then Education Minister. Accordingly, Mr. Gyembo Namgyel, journalist, ‘Bhutan Observer’, wrote a gift of acknowledgement under the title” As a pilgrim will I return to Bhutan every year”, which was published in the ‘Bhutan Observer’ March 15, 2013, after my departure from the kingdom. Mr. Gyembo Namgyel did not only stop by writing and publishing the article but also took pain and spent money to send me a hard copy of the paper by registered post. On the other hand, the Hon’ble Minister blessed me with a magnificent TESTIMONY OF COMMENDATION, which was relayed to my Indian home through the holy hands of Mr. H. B. Viswa, Mr. Ganeshman Gurung and you and was received by my ninety year old father. I felt proud to see the gift in my father’s hand. To me, it was like receiving the Nobel Prize sitting at my home. Further, to enrich and ennoble the occasion, on Saturday, 30th March 2013 when I was leaving Bhutan permanently, you and Mr. Ganeshman Gurung travelled all the way from Samtse to Phuentsholing in order to bid me fare well and to offer your token of good will. You both made the occasion grand and memorable in Kuenga Hotel, Phuentsholing. Through that event also you had educated, enriched and elevated me. I am too humble to reciprocate your noble gestures of love, kindness and benevolence but I will go on praying for you and worshipping you as an epitome of human god. From your example, I am well convinced that it has been rightly said: “Man is the crown creation of God.” Our Late scientist and educationist, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said, “ A good friend is greater than a library.” And I find you as an exemplifying the maxim.
Sir, your simplicity is your divinity. Your faith and admiration of my yoga practice nourishes my self- esteem. I was wonderstruck when you arrived at my shrine room at Norling Hotel, Thimphu, to see my yoga practice in 2005 after our English workshop at YHS. I entitle the comfy room as the shrine room because I firmly believe that wherever yoga is practiced, that place rises to the status of a holy shrine by the divine effect of yoga because it is a sacred subject. It has even transformative effects on the practitioner. Every yoga pose is an expression and manifestation of some divine force. I wish and pray that the blessing of yoga descends on you which is a surest elevator to higher plane in life.
Your researching practice and attitude has also reshaped my character and competency. Throughout your teaching career you have been active in different kinds of research works which has continuously rebuilt and strengthened you. I see so much research work in your poetry book called “ON THE FLUTE’S RAPTURE” and in your “Grammar Success” section in ‘Bhutan Observer’ in scores of issues. I wish and pray that every school and college is equipped with Research Culture for the teachers for their professional growth.
I dreamt to bring you to one of our private colleges as the Principal for promotion of our English education in West Bengal after your retirement from Bhutan. But God has aimed much higher for you. So you are going to Saudi Arabia as an English Language Trainer. Your world is going to be much larger than what it is now. I wish and pray that the entire global education is benefitted by your sacred support and service in English. There is an adage: “A good teacher is more influential than a hundred priests.”Your life and career have become the message of that truth. Your influence has spread in Bhutan and India and now it is going to spread in Saudi Arabia. And I feel very much assured that gradually it is going to spread all over the world. From my experience with you I have developed the courage to say that I love a good teacher more than a hundred priests. “O Lord, may I offer myriad of salutations to Thee for blessing us with such a teacher! May Thou manifest Thy glory and generosity using Mr. Jose as Thy tool! May my revered brother Jose find his home throughout the world! May his English teaching class expand to the global class! May the entire universe turn his family!”
My dear friend, your every action revealed and spoke of your nobility. After almost a year of my departure from Bhutan, there was an International Seminar on INDO-BHUTAN RELATION THROUGH THE CENTURY at Jaigaon College where your participation and contribution was invited. But it sparked in you to share the opportunity with me as well. Accordingly, by virtue of your influence I was invited by the organizing body to the august assembly as a speaker. For an insignificant man, you made a significant place. I have learned so many beautiful things from the scholars at the seminar. My self-esteem rose higher through the participation in the international educational forum.
Poet Ramesh Chander Dutt compressed Lord Buddha’s teachings in his poem ‘ Buddha’s death’ : “…Man devout and women holy,/ Pure in life, in duty faithful,/ They perform the worship truly ...” Your life and service as a teacher has mirrored the sublime philosophy. You have been so truthful, faithful and devoted to your sacred duties and responsibilities.
The prayer and wishes of a pure man is always answered by God. I remember on my resignation from teaching in Bhutan you advised me to engage myself in some school at my hometown and to continue my teaching job. To my utter surprise, your wish bore fruit. The blessing and honour of the teaching job again descended on me at my hometown. I have a big dream about the school. I pray that the Almighty guide me through the heads, hearts and hands of my friends like you to fulfill my vision. As a friend and human being, you have been so loving, caring and faithful even to the smallest things. Whenever you travelled from Samtse to Thimphu I wanted you to bring me my favourite sweet rasgolla. You treated the small matter important and fed my tongue with the relish of the sweet. In the small matter of rasgolla, you poured great love. Mother Teresa said: We can do no great things, only small things but with a great love. I have seen the practice of that divinity in our every activity.
You have contributed a lot to our Bengali education by way of voluntarily participating in many educational forums and seminars. On behalf of our Bengali brothers and sisters, I thank you for sharing your English expertise in the benefit of our education. Several times I said to you that we need you in Bengal for the restoration and rebuilding of our English wealth. “O Lord, You know very well how I longed for K.C. Jose’s support in promoting and strengthening Bengal’s English. But Thou chose to take him away from Bhutan and Bengal. I have nothing to say because you know what is better for him. However, I will go on crying to Thee for his service in our holy land. This is my prayer - me, your humble child, Santosh Chowdhury.”
Sir, today, Sunday, 21st February 2016, another prize descended on me from your poetry book: ON THE FLUTE’S RAPTURE. You have not only clarified my English doubts and queries but also flashed light on my spiritual quest through your interpretation and annotations on Sri Aurobinda’s poem ‘WHO’. A new ray of light falls on my path from today. You have churned the ocean of poetry to present the pearl to the readers. After reading the poem and your commentaries on it I shared with my wife: “What an incredible work of God Mr. K. C. Jose is, he himself doesn’t know. Now he needs to turn inward to explore his inner wealth.” The book is a blessing of God to the readers. For me, it is going to be a guide for my solace and strength in hardships and hallucinations of life. You had sent me the book at Chukha from Samtse in 2009 in the hands of the driver of a Thimphu-bound bus as a token of your good will but I started to unpack the gift now only after several years. It is rightly said: “The teacher appears only when the student is ready.”Thank you for nurturing and raising me to the level of understanding the sublime philosophy.
Thank you, The Holy Himalayan Kingdom- BHUTAN for endowing and adorning my little friend with so much wealth and ornaments!
My beloved teacher, brother and friend Jose, to conclude the letter, may I invite you to join me to sing the following hymn from Tagore’s Gitanjali:
Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger.
I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter; I forget that there abides the old in the new, and that there also thou abidest.
Through birth and death, in this world or in others, wherever thou leadest me it is thou, the same, the one companion of my endless life who ever linkest my heart with bonds of joy to the unfamiliar.
When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then no door is shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I may never lose the bliss of the touch of the one in the play of the many.
With love, prayer and best wishes,