I have never enjoyed sitting in the front row as much as I did on 07 April 19 in my college DAV Chandigarh. And that too in the
auditorium in which one had the rare joy of beating Sushma Swaraj to first position in a debate during a youth festival in 1972. Yes, today was the function for the college alumni, and one had the honour of sitting next to Ranjiv Dalal ( ex DGP of Haryana) who was my two years senior in the college, and a good mentor. The hall was full with the alumni – one could see stalwarts like Dr KS Arya, Prof Marya, Prof OP Kohli, Justice Arun Goel, brother of martyr Vikram Batra, PVC, parents of actor Ayushman Khuranna, Aman Aroa, MLA, JP Thamman, and a host of other big names, as also the bubbling youth.
After I was presented with the award ‘ Pride of the DAVC – Milan 2019’ by the Principal Mr Satish Sharma, I requested the elegant lady Purnima Sehgal, dean Alumni Association, and Ms Shruti, the MC, to give me two minutes to speak. As I narrated my life in the college from 1971 to 73, which was full of positive growth and values, I showed them the college magazine ‘ Nirmata’ of 1972 which I am still cherishing. And Lo and behold , there was a huge applause from the audience.
I reminded them how Principal Triloki Nath used to take personal interest in each student, how Prof CL Dhamija guided me in university debates ( I headed the Young Speakers Association ( YSA) ), and how Pranav Singhal and self as the college debating team defeated St Stephen college Delhi to win the coveted university debate trophy. One paid a tributes to our dedicated teachers who did not mind even being visited at home for guidance - Prof KL Vermani and Ramesh Chandra who taught us English literature, Prof Mehra who made economics easy for us, Maj MM Singh donning the uniform of a NCC officer who ensured discipline, and Mr Mathur ( Botany) who was ever helpful. I also recounted how we used to organize blood donation camps as NSS workers motivated by Mrs Saroop Krishen and Dr JG Jolly, how we enjoyed the youth leadership training camps in Himachal Pradesh under Dr KC Anand of the PU, and how we never went on a strike but focused on our aims in life.
The nostalgic memories were shared by the chief guest Ranjiv Dalal, IPS, as also by other alumni. We remembered Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who visited the college after the 71 victory, and motivated the students to don the uniform and become national heroes. Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Vice President of India, also visited the college in 2003 when we had a grand alumni meet under Principal Marya. We all agreed that the college valued merit and spared no effort in providing the right atmosphere for the bright to excel, be it in sports or academics. There was one common strain in every one’s views – our college produced individuals and not herds.
Today the alumni boards in front of the Principal’s office are full of achievers in all walks of life – Kapil Dev to Yog Raj, Manish Tewari to Rajiv Pratap Rudy, R K anand to Justice Arun Goel, Capt Vikram Batra to Ranjiv Dalal, Ayushman Khuranna to Preeti Singh, M L Verma to Vimal Chander --- the list is very long. As we hugged one another, young and old, we all felt that our Alma Mater had given us the strength to be ourselves. Prof KS Arya who was our warden in the BTC hostel and later became the Principal, still gives us the power to look straight into the eyes, and be honest.
The college has grown in size , and become co– ed since I passed out with BA ( Hons) in 1973. But one thing has not changed – the josh and pride in its students. We all could see this when the students put up a power packed musical cum cultural programme for us. It reflected class and proficiency.
Alumni of an institution are its roots. These must be nurtured to keep the tree strong and healthy. With Purnima Sehgal as the energetic dean of our association, I am sure we will keep meeting like this regularly. My day was made when I received this message from her the next day on the Facebook:
“ No words to express my gratitude, Sir. Thank you so much for coming and bringing Ma’am along too. It was a complete honour having both of you with us at MILAN. Absolutely loved whatever you spoke and the passion with which you spoke!”
About the Author
R D Singh ( retd)
Author & National Thinker
Colonel R D Singh ( retd) is a decorated soldier who served in the Armoured Corps from 1974 to 2012. He has been an instructor ( DS) at the prestigious DSSC Wellington, and commanded 48 Armoured Regiment. He is also a star blood donor ( 102 times) and has been honoured by the Vice President of India in 2003 and the Governor of Haryana in 2014. Presently, Col R D Singh is serving the society as Convenor of INTACH, Ambala Chapter, as also helping guiding under privileged children. Reading and writing are his hobbies, and he speaks on ' communication skills' in schools and colleges.
His wife is a senior teacher in the Army School, daughter a lawyer cum creative writer, and son a Major in the Army. They are a happy family, dedicated to the nation.
Colonel R D Singh ( retd) , 96 /Sector D , Defence Colony , Ambala Cantt – 133001 ,Haryana
Mob: 9467634686 , Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC NEWS.