Bhudep Mukherjee's examination11

One day an examination was being held in a college classroom. The most brilliant student in the class was Bhudep Mukherjee. Bhudep Mukherjee was deeply engrossed in writing his exam when all of a sudden his fountain pen slipped from his hand and dropped to the floor. His English professor, who was standing nearby, picked up the pen and gave it back to the student. Bhudep Mukherjee took it from the teacher and, without saying anything, started writing again.

The professor was a little surprised. “Why didn’t you say ‘Thank you’ to me?” he asked. Bhudep Mukherjee remained silent.

“Why don’t you answer?” the professor said. “You Indians have no courtesy?” The student still remained silent.

“This is what I have taught you over the years?” the professor asked. “It seems that you are not feeling well, or perhaps you have a difficult question that is occupying all your attention. Otherwise, you are always respectful.”

The student said, “No, nothing is wrong with me, I am perfectly all right and the questions are not difficult at all. It is true that I was deeply absorbed in answering a question. But that is not the reason I did not answer you. Sir, you always taught us to do our duty. Whenever we get an opportunity to help someone or to serve someone, we should do it without being asked. Today, when my pen slipped from my hand and dropped, you got the opportunity to help me and serve me. So why do I have to thank you? If you expect my gratitude, then it is not real self-offering. So it is better to help the needy with no expectation. This is what you have taught us, and I am only obeying you. I have not done anything wrong. At the time of my need you helped me, and whenever you are in need I will definitely help you.”

The professor’s anger by this time had changed into joy and gratitude. He said to the student, “I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you. Indeed you are right. When you are in need, others should come and help and not ask any reward for it. If someone is in need, we should go immediately to help the person. And if we expect a ‘Thank you’ or gratitude, it is a mistake. It is our duty at every moment to help others and even to sacrifice our lives for others.”

Bhudep Mukherjee eventually became a very, very great scholar. He was a great son of Mother Bengal who did much for the intellectual and social development of his nation.

GIM 51. 15 January 1979