Review: Mission To Teach by Dipak Basu

Title: Mission To Teach: The Life and Legacy of a Revolutionary Educator
Author: Dipak Basu
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Publisher: Jbf Books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biographies/Memoirs
Pages: 397
Source: Paperback from Author


Synopsis (from Amazon): From bleak, mafia-controlled streets of post-communist Russia, from joy and sorrow in India's capital city, to the academic enclaves of America, "Mission to Teach" spans four continents as it recounts the remarkable life of Dr. Jhumki Basu.

It is a story of facing great obstacles-the brutal murder of her dearest mentor and the onset of breast cancer at the unheard of age of twenty-four. And it is a story of triumph-the founding of a public school in an embattled New York borough with dramatic results, and a unique professorship at New York University.

It is a story of making learning science exciting for children at risk of a lifetime of poverty, drugs, and crime-and a way for them to become responsible citizens. "Mission to Teach" shows us how, despite a seven-year battle with a killer disease and an untimely death, a fearless young woman's pathbreaking work endures through the movement she started.

"This is a powerful, beautifully written book. It is a heart-wrenching testament to a brilliant woman." - Dr. Jane Goodall

"She was an extraordinary woman - kind, compassionate and brilliant. In her shortened life, she touched so many people. I am among those who feel genuinely blessed to have known her. Please know that I will never forget her and that she will live, vibrantly, in all our hearts." - Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice


Dipak Basu, engineer, philanthropist, social worker, author, has spent much of his life employing technology in humanitarian missions worldwide.

In 2006, he set up Anudip Foundation, a nonprofit company dedicated to improving livelihoods of poor rural people in developing countries through training in information technology and entrepreneurship. He currently serves as Anudip's Chairman and CEO.

 In 2001 Dipak founded and served as Executive Director of NetHope, a technology alliance of the world's largest aid agencies, applying innovative high-tech solutions to aid operations in the world's impoverished, disaster-affected and war-torn regions.

From 1995-2006, Dipak held senior management positions in Product Management and Professional Services at Cisco Systems. Prior to Cisco, Dipak served as a consultant to the Government of India, developing communications solutions for the country's steel, energy, banking and hospitality sectors.

Dipak is the recipient of the Tech Laureate award for IT in Humanity and the President's Award from Save the Children. He is a Cisco Leadership Fellow, a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow, and a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers.

In 2009, following the loss of their beloved daughter the previous year, Dipak and his wife, Radha, launched the Jhumki Basu Foundation to carry on her remarkable legacy.

Sipak's debut historical fiction novel, A Flight of Green Parrots, was published in 2004. A sequel will follow in 2014.

     Coming from a family of educators in some way, shape, or form, this book really touched my heart. This woman really had a story to tell and it is wonderful that her father was willing  to put in the time and effort to create an in-depth memoir in her name. As someone who is going into [Music] Education myself, I found Jhumki's story inspiring and moving. I have a lot of drive and motivation, but this woman had a fierce determination that many of us only wish we had. It is so unfortunate that her time on earth was cut so short; I can only imagine the endless things she could have accomplished not only for the lives around her, but the lives of teachers all over the globe. 

     So there are a lot of aspects to the depth of this book, but mostly, it is about a person's journey through revolutionizing the approach to education. Jhumki believed the best way to teach was to also become a student...of your students. What do I mean by that? Basically, if you as an educator are willing to LEARN your students on a more intimate level and UNDERSTAND how they function, then you discover how to make them teachable.

     This was especially vital in her techniques as she worked with kids who were a disadvantaged minority. From experience, I know how easy it is for people to shut off their emotions and create a barrier between themselves and difficult students simply because it makes them "easier" to work with. But in actuality, they need the kind of intricate attention that Jhumki displayed within her teaching methods. I hope that I can integrate them myself when I enter the classroom.

     I think what really made her incredible was that she was accomplishing these ground-breaking ideals in the educational world, completed her Masters and PHD at the SAME time, all the while battling cancer at a ridiculously young age. Wow! Talk about not allowing your circumstances to define you! 

    This is a GREAT book. I wouldn't just recommend it to other teachers, but really to anyone looking for some inspiration in life. It's not all light-hearted, though. You will experience the good, the bad, and the ugly through the pages and see an incredible strength and bond not just through Jhumki, but through her entire family. She lived a short life, but it was definitely a FULL life.

    Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book! :)

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