The preparations were grand. One could swim in the aroma of Marigold flowers from anywhere in the vicinity of the college. A 30 feet tall saffron tent occupied the college’s ‘centre – park’. The ambience and feeling was that of pride as Motilal Nehru College was all set and ready to celebrate 50 glorious years of providing quality higher education since its inception in 1964.
Motilal Nehru College, previously known as Government College, Degree College and Hastinapur College (in that order) was started in a humble school building with around 274 students under the guidance of its first Principal Dr. R.K. Bhan. In 1965, the college was handed over to its first elected governing body comprising Sardar Gurmukh Nihal Singh as Chairman, Sardar Mohan Singh as Treasurer and Sh. M.L. Bhatia as Bursar. It originally offered only B.A. Program and B.Com (Hons). In 1979, the foundation stone for the building of the college was laid by the then President Sh. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy upon receiving 8 acres of land for constructing it. In spite of facing red tape issues, the foundation stone of the administrative block was laid on 28th April, 1983 due to the mammoth efforts of Dr. Ratnakar Pandey, the then Principal of the college, who involved Mrs. Indira Gandhi and held consecutive meetings with the UGC chairperson to achieve it.
By 1986 – 87 the college had 1689 students and 10 departments – 7 honours courses and 3 post- graduate courses. Finally on 9th January, 1989 the college shifted to its new building. Since then the strength of the college has risen to more than 3000 students.
Getting back to the celebrations, the ambient flute music which was playing in the background nicely complemented the atmosphere in the college. One could also see the NCC cadets rehearsing continuously to ensure that the Chief Guest would get the perfect ‘Guard of Honour’. The Chief Guest was Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports. Some of the other important guests who were invited were, Padmasree Biman Das (renowned artist and sculptor), Shri Rameshwar Teli (Member of Parliament – Lok Sabha), Sat Prakash Rana (Member of Legislative Assembly – Delhi, Ex – student of the college), V.B.N. Ram (President – Alumni Association) and Professor J. P. Khurrana (Chairman, Governing Body of the College).
Around 10 am, the chief guest arrived and he was welcomed by the college’s administrative staff and a set of retired professors. He was escorted by the Students’ Union President Divya Munjal and the Secretary of the Staff Council, Mr Munish Tamang to the Principal’s room, where he was introduced to the Principal, Professor B.K. Jain.
Ten minutes later, the Chief Guest was escorted by the Principal to unveil the bust of freedom fighter, Pandit Motilal Nehru, after whom the college has been named. The bust was sculpted by Padmasree Biman Das on a very short notice. It reflected the sheer artistry of the living legend.
The function started around half past ten with a group song which was performed by the college’s cultural society ‘Vaayu’ – ‘Swagatam Shubh Swagatam’. The Chief Guest also released the ribbon containing the Commemorative issue of 2014 which was later distributed amongst everyone in the college. There were speeches which were delivered by Professor Munish Tamang, Professor B.K. Jain and Shri J.P. Khurrana and finally a speech by the Chief Guest. “We cannot be isolated, We need to believe in global bliss and ours is a global economy”, he said. He also brought up Narendra Modi quite a few times by saying, “Modi has taught us one thing – Parivartan ke liye kathor parishram ki zarurat hai” ( For a change, we need to struggle for the better” and “Now we have a Prime Minister of specific determination, commitment and hard work – that is Narendra Modi ji”.
Here is an audio of his whole speech: http://goo.gl/6xMg71
After his speech, the function officially ended. We had the opportunity to speak to Professor Jawaharlal Jogi (retired professor) whom on being asked about the function stated, “I joined this college on day one, with Dr. N. Bhattacharya. While I was the Associate Professor of Mathematics, he was the Associate Professor for Commerce. I felt that there should have been a speech on the history of the college. Other than that the function was organised pretty well.” We also spoke to Shri Sat Prakash Rana who is a Member of the legislative Assembly and an MLNC alumnus. On being asked about the function he replied, “The function was very good. I was a former student of this college and I am very proud. It has been 25 years since I have left the college.”
Image credits: Kuntal Tamang and ambaphotostudio.com