It was a unique experience for 60 students at Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in New Delhi when the first citizen of the country "Mukherjee sir" on Friday took a class on political history, first ever by any president, spanning across incidents of his life to contemporary politics.
Referred to as "wild idea" by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ask President Pranab Mukherjee to hold a class on the eve of Teachers' Day, the event generated enthusiasm among students who were eager avail unique opportunity to hear as teacher a career politician of over four decades who held three out of four crucial ministries on Raisina Hill.
79-year old Mukherjee, widely regarded for his command on history, donned the hat of teacher after 46 years as he entered the lecture hall, neatly divided in two rows with a red carpet, and immediately developed a connect with students eager to hear him.
"If anyone of you feel little bored, you are free to tell me Mukherjee you can stop it. I am no longer a president or a minister. I am just your Mukherjee sir...I will be happy if you call me Mukherjee sir," said the jovial president when he felt the class was becoming too serious.
Among these light-hearted notes, were serious observations on the political history of India when the president talked about the increasing role of social media and fourth pillar of the democracy -- media and NGOs in forming social opinion which he said were "off shoot" of healthy democracy.
"Indian people are making experiments. They are not satisfied... They are asking is that all? Can't we do it better? Can't we achieve more? The powerful instruments that are developing as off shoots of this thinking are the civil society NGOs," the president said.