A GLORIOUS CENTENARY (1920-2020) -SCD GOVT. COLLEGE, LUDHIANA(INDIA) COMPLETES IT’S 100 YEARS
“ I say each student is capable of acting an important part in life. I want my college to serve as the trial ground for discovering potentialities. “- Principal A.C.C. Hervey.
Having studied in this great Alma Mater in late 1960s and early 1970s in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations era, I vividly remember and relish the nostalgia as a student then. The then Alumni of the college were closely associated and invited for this great grandeur for which celebrations were spread for many days. Now, in 2020 as an alumnus , I also find myself bestowed with privilege to be actively associated with many a Alumni and also with Alumni Association. To scan a 100 years journey of this great college itself is a thrilling experience of seeing the dream of Principal A.C.C.Hervey (Often called as ‘Father of the College’) being fulfilled when students of the college got prestigious positions nationally and internationally in all walks of life and have made the college proud. The present incumbent, Principal Dr. Dharam Singh Sandhu, is also involving the alumni of the college in the centenary year celebrations which though temporarily checkmated in this prolonged historic global Covid-19 lockdown in the year 2020.
Established in 1920, as per policy of British Presidency for spread of education in this region of India in Punjab, at Ludhiana near the Sutlej river (Also known as Satadree-river that flows in 100 channels as per Puranic Mahabharata), our Alma Mater is vibrating it’s eternal glow like an educational lighthouse in a vast expanse of this region, which we hope will remain till eternity. The college magazine which carries its title name as The Sutlej and all of it’s old issues adoring the college library in its Heritage Section now amply describe the flow of educational glow in the last 100 years too.
Born in the rickety Military Barracks (At present PAU site ) in 1920, this budding child of college in its cradle was then shifted near Ludhiana’s railway station/Jagraon Bridge in 1922, where it started for Intermediate classes in History, Mathematics and Persian only. The famous historian Rai Bahadur Manmohan and Mr. Mohd. Saeed were first two Principals of the college . The college moved to its present permanent location in 1927 after completion of Principal’s lodge that year. The magnificent old campus building is now visible when one passes on Ludhiana’s Nehru Rose Garden and Hero Heart Hospital road -which is now popularly known as Government College Road.
Principal Harvey, M.A.(Cantab.)I.E.S who took charge in 1927 nourished hard to see that ‘the college child emerge into a vibrating adulthood’ in his long memorable tenure of fifteen years till 1942. And, this is not without any substance that Principal Harvey’s contribution is always singularly recognized and praises sung for him in each celebration of the college till today. Mr. Hervey, who was an Englishman and pretty senior in Educational Service of the country then, had always believed in ‘Leading from the Front’. He literally built the college brick by brick. Thus recalled many a teachers at the time of Golden Jubilee celebrations about Principal Hervey’s hard work.
“….His hands were very delicate, and he used to put on light rubber gloves when he used to work with a spade. Every evening he was in the forefront. The whole college area was cleared of wild bushes and reeds which were growing in abundance”.
The tough recalcitrant sandy soil mounds at the place (near Buddha Darya-an offshoot of Sutlej)which was then miles apart from now old Ludhiana were turned into an eminence place of education with green playfields, grounds, tennis lawns and flower beds and rare variety trees. A fine example, he gave to the students and staff to work with their own hands, who all jointly built sheds and water channels of the college. Mr Hervey had named different groups of volunteers as members of the ‘Coats Off Society’, ‘Social Service League’ and ‘Handyman Club’. Mr Harvey started ‘The Industrial Science Club’, ‘Meterological Society’ and the ‘Printing Press Society’ in the college. The Drama Club was another most active society started in 1930s and the college even today proudly wins many a laurels in youth festivals and inters college/Universities competitions. Mr. Hervey then had started ‘The Students Representative Committee” where direct elections on democratic principles were held. The present day college ‘Students Unions’ too are an inherited legacy from that time and after independence of the country, no wonder, many a college students blossomed in politics to be elected as Members of Indian Parliament (MPs) and Members Punjab State Assembly (MLAs).Our college has also produced a number of IAS/IFS/IPS/IES officers till date besides hundreds of other students who have excelled in services and business in India and abroad.
“…Gentlemen I am glad to be here. Needless to say that we are all colleagues .You must be doing your job immensely well, I am sure .I have nothing more to remind you that I do not like giving or receiving reminders to or from the department. Thank you.” .These were the words of Principal Mr.U.Kramet who joined as successor to Principal Harvey in 1942.
A ‘Cambridge Blue’ who was Head of Indian Naval School, ‘Dufferin’ in Bombay earlier, Principal Kamet’s passion to further develop the college to its new heights is also historic and unforgettable. Students then still went to play near Jagron Rail Bridge in the city. It was only his vision that students started playing in their own grounds in the college itself after proper Sports Infrastructure and facilities were made available here .With the support of the then DPI and local senior revenue officials, he was able to provide grounds with ‘turfs’. He was in the college grounds every morning with other Sports teachers like S.Thakar Singh,-who also remained right hand of Principal Harvey to oversee further improvements. On the college’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations, Mr. U. Kramet, perhaps with his deep futuristic insights invited Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan who later became President Of India and was also conferred with Bharat Ratna. The following quotes from speech of Dr. Radhakrishnan from the Silver Jubilee Edition of ‘The Sutlej’ tell the mood of the times after the world torn by World War II and mankind was gasping for peace. He said,
“……..The soul of man is neither English, nor Indian nor Chinese nor Japanese, and neither Hindu nor Muslim. These Universities and educational institutions belong to the Republic of Letters, not to any race, nation, section or community but to humanity at large, For members of such a republic, the qualification should not be less than a daring for truth. (Dare to be true.)”—-The Sutlej Silver Jubilee Edition (1945). Only after a short while later in 1947, the Republic of India too had the motto Satyamev Jayate!– The Truth Triumphs.
Here is given a part of Principal U.Kramet’s college report read before the visiting dignitary then, which is a must read for all the students-present as well as Alumni so as to always think of the Alma Mater’s betterment in every possible way:
“In this year of the Silver Jubilee much has been promised by the Government. We are to have soon a second storey to house the large science classes in the intermediate and the newly introduced Degree Classes in all Science subjects. The public in appreciation of the services rendered by the college to the people of South Eastern Punjab has contributed freely towards a pavilion, the building of which is now taking shape. The Old Boys contributed towards the Silver Jubilee Fund which is to provide a Swimming Bath and Psychological Clinic and Laboratory”—— The Sutlej : Silver Jubilee Edition .Principal Kramat’s tenure also saw the hosting of the All India Olympics as well as Punjab Olympics in the college’s newly rechristened play grounds which became popular among the other institutions of the region for hosting matches, but he never allowed the damage to college grounds by outsiders as the college reports and Old Alumni tell.
Principal, Dr. Mohamed Jahangir took the reins of the college in 1946, when Principal U .Kramet was elevated as Dy.DPI, Punjab. About, Mr. Jahangir, here is an extract from the write-up of Golden Jubilee edition of The Sutlej by Prof. L C Gupta, HOD Mathematics who served the college from October 1932 to April 1954:
“…….Mr. Khan was an Indian Test Cricketer, a stock bowler in the days of the great Naidu, Nissar and Amar Nath. He was the product of Jullundur, Islamia College, Lahore and Cambridge. He was a Cambridge-Blue in Cricket. In him we had an honest, generous, mild-tempered, steady personality with grave looks but a very kind heart. Those were the days of great tumult and communal outrage and frenzy, but Dr. Jehangir Khan always kept his head cool and his heart intact. His decisions were judicious and upright……..” . Incidentally, Principal Dr. Jahangir too shifted to Pakistan in 1947 aftermath of the partition. Notwithstanding, he gladly attended Golden jubilee celebrations as a special invitee in 1970.
The inevitable happened and the bloodshed witnessed on both sides in the communal frenzy of 1947 and our Punjab suffered. S.Thakar Singh at the time of Golden Jubilee celebrations shared a telling account of 1947 pain. It was about his favorite Mr. Zohoor Ahmed, an intelligent and always a smiling face student, a rover scout who later came as staff of the college but had opted for Pakistan. S.Thakar Singh took responsibility for his safe passage. A car was arranged for Lahore to send him along with Mr. Mohammad Hussain, the Headmaster of Industrial school, Ludhiana. Certain youth with swords out were roaming nearby on hearing bloodshed of Indians in East Punjab(Pakistan). Car did not start. S.Thakar Singh with some others pushed it for 200 yards and car ran quick for Lahore. The unknown frenzied youth were after the life of Thakar Singh and the following is worth reckoning. Mr. Singh shared this for ‘The Sutlej’ in the Golden jubilee celebration issue . Here is an extract:
“—— A young retired soldier shouted at me, “Sardar Sahib you are as great an enemy for us as those who are leaving for Pakistan.You gave protection to our enemies in your house while your brethren are being butchered in Pakistan”. I unsheathed my sword. I had no other alternative but to accept the challenge.I asked them to move forward. The second in command was our old tennis picker-Goli boy Jita’. He recognised me and spoke to the leader: — ਛਡ ਓਏ, ਇਹ ਤਾਂ ਸਾਡਾਂ ਖੇਡਾਂ ਵਾਲਾ ਸਰਦਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਹੈ — He advised him to return with the mob and started looting the house of Mr. Mohd. Hussain.”———–Thakar Singh. Principal Mr. A R Khanna had a hard time in settling down the disturbed conditions and tempers of the youth, but he stood the trial admirably well, recalled Prof. L.C. Gupta in his memoirs. Principal Khanna was also made in-charge of the Refugees’ camp setup in Jawahar Nagar Camp area, near present day Shaheed Sukhdev Inter State Bus Terminal in the city. The college Ambulance Team pictures of those times which adore the walls of the college are a testimony of the relief work responsibility taken by the students and teachers alike. Studies begin in February 1948 with PG classes in English and Mathematics.
After, Principal Khanna, there came Principal H.C.Kathpalia (1949-51),Dr. Trilochan Singh(1951-53) whose tenure too remained memorable as per the college memoirs saved in The Sutlej. Principal Kathpalia, first time introduced college girls in the college Drama Club for playing female roles which were earlier played by boys themselves and a play “Chasma” was selected for performance before VP of India Mr.V.V.Giri who visited PAU, Ludhiana in his times. Principal Kathpalia regularly played lawn tennis with the students who brought sports laurels nationally then. Principal’s three sons also studied here 2 were got selected in IAS and another in IAAS.
If the Pre-1947 era of the college the illustrious Sahir Ludhianvi, Satish Chander Dhawan and renowned painter Harkishan Lal remained on it’s roles as students. We vividly remember the nostalgia at the International Mushyara when Sahir Ludhianvi and Shiv Batalvi among other galaxy of poets recited their poetry .The era from early 1950s to early 1980s too saw such students on rolls who lator made this college proud by serving the society either as Teachers, Principals, Administrators in Civil &Police services ,in the Army ,the Entrepreneurs besides many who succeeded to become National and State level politicians and many got ministerial berths too. It was in the period from 1950 up to 1984 when students like CBI Chief Joginder Singh, Padam Shri Keki N. Daruwla ,IPS and an eminent English poet, Mr. N N Vohra, IAS and Ex-J&KGoverner, S. M.S Gill(ex-MP & ex-Chief Election Commissioner) S.K.P.S.Gill IPS(former DGP Punjab were on college rolls.
Mr. Bal Anand IFS, a former ambassador recently on 22nd Feb,2020 read at India International Centre, New Delhi before an educational elite select gathering of IFSs ,the condolence message specially sent by present Principal Dr. Sandhu on behalf of our college on the death of Alumnus Ambassador Retd. Paramjit Singh Sahai (IFS) where many other Alumni were present.Mr. Sahai gave a number of books on international affairs. Mr. Bal Anand shared with me that one Mrs. Kamla Chowdhery Dalal also graduated from here in early 1960s and who later competed to become ‘The first woman PCS officer from Punjab after 1947 (Joint Punjab), before it’s division into two States another being Haryana in 1965 . She retired as a senior IAS officer in Haryana and in her eighties; she is working for Haryana girls’ education and destitute girls. Surprisingly, there are fewer girls from college rather from all Punjab who are much more in numbers in PG classes ,though score much more marks than boys, but are not venturing into Administrative and other allied services. The name of Miss Ishita Thaman is though was proudly taken by college when she got selected in IES in 2019 is an exception after long years.
Prof.Suresh Chander Vatasyan, also an Alumni and later Head of Hindi postgraduate department made the college proud when his lyrical poem titled as— हमी नवोदय हों — “Hum Nava Yug Ki Nayi Bharati, Nayi Aarti” is the prayer and theme song of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti in the morning assembly in schools across India since last many decades. Interestingly, once he asked us to assemble at Clock Tower at 4 O Clock in the morning in a December Chill where we gave blankets to dozens of people sleeping on pavements –the blankets were donated by of students of commerce department who were hosiery manufacturers. The college was also made amply proud when one of it’s Geography teacher, Prof. Baljit Singh Grewal(With his poetic name ‘Sajjad’), who was also our tutorial- in- charge made the college proud, when he coined a memorable Olympic Motto for Mexico Olympic Games,1968 which was published on the title page of the official bulletin of the games then (original with me) .A grateful college has put his sentiments titled as ‘An Eastern Expression of Olympic Philosophy later also accepted in Tehran and Seoul Asian Games in a stone memorabilia in college sports ground. The quote runs :
“To distill human strength into speed and skill and to elevate mankind’s mind above the weakness of rewards and recognition is the sole purpose of sports”—Baljit S. Grewal (India).
Col. Avtar Singh Cheema (Arjuna Awardee & Padma Shri Awardee). Olympians S. Sukhbir Singh Grewal, Jagdev Singh and Jagmohan Singh, Sh. Yashpal Sharma(famous Test Cricketer) and Arjuna Awardee sportsmen like S.Sajjan Singh Cheema, S. Manmohan Singh and S. Sukhpal Brar did college proud in last century. College has now edge grooming Basketball players as many have played international matches too in Indian team.There are scores of politicians of all hues who studied in this college and later became popular MPs. MLAs and Ministers in Indian Union and many a States too. Many of them have taken care of officially supporting college through governmental funds. Contribution of old students like Shri M S Gill (IAS) and an Ex MP is immense and so is of Shri Bharat Bhushan Ashu ,MLA and currently a minister in Punjab Government. The list of names of legislatures and MPS who remained Alumni is long.Many a Alumni has proved their entrepreneurship mettle worldwide . To quote a few, Rakesh Bharti Mittal,Pankaj Munjal,Pawan Munjal, O P Pahwa and Jagdish Syngal and many more. Many are regularly contributing funds to college in their payback time. College now puts their illustrious Alumni pictures on big wall hangings and these are kept revised and updated which is a real acknowledgment of the talent of it’s Alumni which also inspires new generation. Alumnus Opender Chanana who was groomed in Drama and Theater in the college now settled Mumbai through his documentary-‘Deglamourizing The Bollywood’ highlighting the plight of cine workers has made ripples by winning around 250 recognitions in global forums. Alumnus Prof. Gurbhajan Gill a known name globally in Punjabi Poetry has been President of Punjabi Sahit Accedemy .His lyrics are being sung by many a folk singers.
The other day, Dr. B C Gupta IAS (Retd) who did Bsc (Honors ) in 1970, informed me that after his selection in IAS , he was the national topper at the Indian Forest Service examination, 1974 conducted by the UPSC. He served Govt of India as the Food Secretary, was elected Chairman of the International Sugar Council, a UN Organisation representing 87 countries of the Sugar world. He is credited with bringing into effect the National Food Security Act, 2013 and introducing ‘Aadhar’ into the Public Distribution System in the country. He also served the National Consumer Commission, an apex-Judicial Tribunal as Member to decide the Consumer grievances for five-plus years. Dr. Gupta shared a contact of Alumni Mr Ravi Parkash Aggarwal, also a BSC honors in 1970 who remained topper from our college. After his M.Sc in physics from Oregon State University, US, he attended a four-month-long Executive MBA Education program at Harvard Business School. He has over thirty years experience in new business development, and accelerating business growth by leading interdisciplinary teams in the US, Europe, Japan, China, Southeast Asia and India at major technology companies. As General Manager of Intel Japan, Alumnus Ravi was instrumental in conceiving and launching the “Intel In It” branding initiative, which grew into worldwide “Intel Inside” campaign.
It’s diamond jubilee celebrations in the year 1980-1981 too remained very eventful when Principal Rajinder Verma invited many a living Alumni from Pakistan then. Career Wing for competitive examination grooming and Obstacle Course for stamina and strength built up by NCC cadets and other students were introduced then. Principal Verma is accredited with starting Principal Harvey Memorial Lecture Series in which lecture were delivered by eminent persons like Mr.I.C.Puri, the then Chief Secretary, Punjab and Mr. N S Vasant ,Chairman Pb. State Elect. Board(both Old students).Mr.Prem Bhatia, The Tribune, Chief Editor, Mr. Gurcharan Das, a famous economist, and Prof.Abdul Mazeed Khan, a scholar and a statesman, Dr. Khem Singh Gill, VC, PAU etc. Interestingly, rather more satisfyingly, Dr. Dharam Singh Sandhu in cooperation with the Alumni Association started Centenary Celebrations Lecture Series, wherein the first lecture was delivered in Feb, 2020 by Alumnus S. Shivdular Singh IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar who in a jam-packed Sahir Auditorium spoke and interacted for 3 plus hours asking students to pose him at least 100 questions. It remained a lively day. It is hoped that further lectures should be held by college by inviting illustrious Alumni and others after complete opening of Covid Lockdown when studies start.
A number of other students have served and some serving in positions of Brigadiers, Colonels and Captains in the Indian Army. Here, one can proudly remember our Alumnus General T N Raina who remained the Chief Of army Staff from May Ist June,1975 to 31st May,1978. One would be failing in one’s duty if we do not mention about our Alumni War Martyrs Major Shivdev Singh and Captain Vijay Sehgal who got martyred in War Action in 1962 for Liberation of Goa from Portuguese Control and martyr Captain Jagdev Singh Grewal who gave his life in 1965 Indo-Pak war. The pictures of these martyrs are placed on the walls of college library which has around 1.25 Lacs books-some rare for which online indexing is in place. My college library conspicuously depicts a beautiful quote from its own teacher, Prof. Grewal, which runs: “A Library is an ever blossoming garden from where the seekers of knowledge gather the honeyed sweetness of life”.
I cannot resist myself quoting the words of Prof. R N Matta, of English fame still adored by students who in his thanks giving speech at Golden Jubillee Celebrations on behalf of teachers as Secretary Staff Club which are relevant today in our Alma Mater’s 100th Year Centenary Celebrations in the year 2020 too. He said:
“………With the mighty traditions inherited from the past of this institution, we have also to muster strength to face the most formidable challenge of time, the global phenomenon of the reshaping of values. Let us this day dedicate ourselves to the task of meeting this brave new world with a confidence and poise, a heart within and God overhead so that we can look back to this celebration as a red letter day in the march of Destiny.”
As a proud coordinator for Alumni association of this great Alma Mater, my humble request to college authorities and Punjab Govt. is that our college in it’s 100th year can befittingly build an Alumni Bhawan in the college for which Alumni too can contribute in their payback time, just as in many reputed institutions the world over Alumni are also contributing for research and development in their Alma Mater.
*The names of illustrious Alumni are countless. The Milestones -The Glorious Century column will cover them all.
F urther,the writer and the portal is extremly grateful to SCD Govt. College, Ludhiana as inputs have been taken mostly from The Sutlej -Golden Jubilee Issue .
( BRIJ BHUSHAN GOYAL ) – Coordinator, SCD GOVT.COLLEGE, LUDHIANA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.