Addiction to history caused his deathHe held Master degrees in Ancient Indian History, Medieval History and Modern Indian History. To some students he was an excellent teacher; some students could not understand what he was teaching. He was not a conventional teacher. He never bothered about history syllabus. He could effortlessly go from Gupta Empire to Napoleonic Code of Conduct. While discussing Allahabad Pillar Inscription, he could criticize the Treaty of Vienna (1815). While teaching Alauddin Khilji, he could discuss the origin of army canteens.
He never used to bother about examination and performance of the students. His sole aim was to create interest about history in the minds of young students. He used to explain to his students that history was a very potent weapon in the hands of administrators. The subject can be projected in different manners. He, like every other great teacher, always encouraged his students to question the version of history which was being presented. He taught his students that history is a flow of events and every historical event is the consequence of past action.
This great teacher was almost married to history. He was a confirmed bachelor and used to live with the family of his elder brother. Throughout days and nights he used to remain engrossed in history books.
However, this addiction to history caused his death. Although, it sounds astonishing but this is true. In a gloomy monsoon morning, as usual this great teacher was reading his history books in his residence. The maid-servant kept some acid in an unused cup on the table, with which she was supposed to clean the washroom. The teacher, engrossed in the history books, thought that his morning tea was served. He took a sip of the concentrated acid. He was taken to a hospital but his internal organs were irrecoverably burnt by the strong acid. His last days were very painful. After suffering from unbearable pain for several days, he left the world in 1982.
I pay my deep respect to Late Gauri Shankar Jyoti (GJ), the great history teacher of our school, who developed my interest in the subject (along with my mother). Excessive addiction to history ultimately caused painful and untimely death of this respected and revered teacher.
(Competition entry: Topic for TOW contest for the week 29th Oct to 04th Nov '17- Addiction.)