Teachers are everywhere so are students. They both are equally important for society but are they such simple social constructions? Or are they metaphors for maintaining knowledge sharing?, Or are they harbingers of epistemic justice? If everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student, then what about others? Is student-teacher the basis of every relationship? Can the student-teacher relationship co-exist with other relationships? Does value addition an inherent aspect of student-teacher relationships? These are a few questions that we want everyone to ponder upon wishing Happy Teacher’s Day every year.

People might have different understandings of the term ‘teacher’. Some think of a teacher as an entity who is found in the classroom, imparting some academic knowledge. Some understand a teacher as a venerated and divine entity who guides people and improve their life experience. Some remember teachers for their tantalizing tales whereas some regard them as an appreciative apostle. There are some who go beyond these meanings of ‘teacher’ and revere ‘source of ideas’ as the supreme teacher. For Intellectual property students (which we all are), a teacher is the one who motivates you to be more creative, encourages you to be more humble, helps you to be more ‘self’ while respecting the individuality of ‘other’, discourages you to be factive while appreciating art, encourages you to question your and his ideas.

Teachers are those who never cease adding value to others’ lives irrespective of their worldly presence (e.g. Ideas of Prof. Shamnad Basheer and Prof Kieth Aoki still help me while writing an article or framing an argument). Their ideas are a guiding light and a catapult for new teachers, new students, new guides, new mentors, new gurus. A teacher can guide you to be creative but it can also bide to be destructive. IP is also based on a similar principle, it can be a corporate armor for someone and a socio-cultural tool for someone. For some, it is an expression of personality whereas for some it is an addition to the existing domain/culture/public domain/common stock. Someone between these two we all have many teachers. It reminds me of Aristotle who once said “Man is by nature a social animal”, he must have used it a particular social context (which I might not be exactly aware), but it certainly clarifies that we cannot live alone, we all need people to survive and sustain. In this process of co-existing, we derive ideas from others, influence the existence of ours and others (that’s why what Aristotle, Socrates wrote years ago still shape our behaviors and thinking).

knowingly or unknowingly, we give ideas to others and take ideas from them (irrespective of whether we want it or not). Once we get exposed to something and unlock an idea, we cannot undo. It becomes a part of who we are. It often happens subconsciously. Given this, I wouldn’t mind calling ‘public domain/common stock/creative corpus’ as the teacher of all teachers but again I must admit that it is you and me (‘us’) who create and define ‘public domain/common stock/creative corpus’. In this way, everyone remains teacher and student. We all teach and learn on a daily basis. We are creators and we are culture. It is not always a book/video/novel which shapes our ideas but it is the people who shape our ideas and help us uncage a new idea. As Kabir said, “The river that flows in you also flows in me.”, we all derive our ideas from the existing corpus (knowingly or unknowingly), and every author remains a second author. Every teacher is a student and every student is the teacher.


Thanks IPRMENTLAW for shaping my ideas and becoming an inexorable part of my personality. I thanks Akshat Agarwal for his valuable comments on this topic.

Happy Teacher’s Day to ‘US’

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