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Kulapathy Sri.S.Balakrishna Joshi

Balakrishna Joshi

S.B.J. – These sweet-sounding initials belong to the man who stood like a colossus among the practising educationists of South India, during the major part of the last century. He had been known even in North India. There were countless theorists in the field of education but successful practitioners were few and far between.

Sri. S. Balakrishna Joshi was, indeed, a highly successful practitioner of education of the young. He was a Headmaster non pareil who shone like the sun. His tenure of the headship of The Hindu Theological High School, Sowcarpet, Chennai – 79 was long and lustrous - 26 years (from 1944 to 1970). During his leadership the institution, which was his Alma Mater, grew from strength to strength and from success to success. The school became a pattern worthy of admiration and emulation. It is no exaggeration to state here that the headmasters of many other institutions in South India visited the school and considered the opportunity to meet and hold discussion with Joshiji, their great fortune. The educational activities that were going on in the school under the efficient and enlightened guidance of the dedicated and devoted head Sri. Joshi, were countless and teacher trainees with their lecturers and principals from the various training colleges of South India visited the school avidly and derived long lasting benefits. Many a famous educationist from within and without India visited the school and paid eulogy and encomiums to Sri. Joshi. The fame of the institution reached its acme during his stewardship and the school was one of the best in the country.

Those who were connected with education were all praise for Sri. Joshi, admired him and idolized him. Great scholars and prominent personalities like Dr. Sir. C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar, Dr. Sir. A. Lakshmana Swamy Mudaliar, Sir. A. Ramaswamy Mudaliar, Dr. Sir. S. Radhakrishnan and such others treated him as their equal and best friend.

Sri. S.B.J. became a teacher in the school in which he studied, not by chance but by deliberate choice. He loved teaching and looked upon his work not merely as a profession but as a high calling. He served with missionary zeal. He never believed in the force of authority but in the power of love, persuasion and personal example. Without his asking he could easily enlist the whole-hearted co-operation of his devoted colleagues. He tended and trained the children that were committed to his care with rare affection. His students looked upon him as their second-parent. He used to say often to the august assembly of teachers of various institutions that a teacher is truly a vicar of God on earth and indeed he became a vicar of God himself.

It was not a surprise to many that Sri. Joshi became one of the few headmasters of South India, in the year 1964, to win the National Award for Teachers. He received the most coveted award at the hands of no less a person than Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, the then President of the Republic of India.

Sri. Joshi was a great scholar, a convincing speaker in English, and a fine writer, an educational expert, a deeply religious man, a man of progressive views, amiable manners and neat habits and high principles, and above all a humane human.

Even after his retirement, in 1970, from his institution, he continued with renewed zeal and zest, to guide not only his school but many other institutions, in Chennai, that sought his advice. He was in great demand as an administrator and soon after he retired from his school he became the Principal of D.A.V. High School, in Chennai, that felt proud of his being its head. He presided over many educational meetings and conferences organised by both private and government agencies and was often consulted by educational experts. He never felt tired of serving the cause of education. He did, doubtless, yeoman service to the education of the Juvenile. His book ‘Education in Practice’ reveals the many facets of his magnetic personality. He lived a happy and long life and when the breathed his last during the last decade of the past century, even the Chennai Doordarshan paid its meed of tribute to him by displaying prominently his imposing photograph and making a broad mention of his unique contribution to education.

May the soul of Sri. Joshi take another mortal attire to inspire us all and to guide us aright in our educational endeavours!