‘Dyal Singh college new name means salutation to mother’
‘I thought that if we name the new college after any other famous personality, it would hurt the sentiments of Dyal Singh Majithia and the Dyal Singh Trust.’
The renaming of Dyal Singh Evening College into Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya at the college’s governing body meeting earlier this week, has led to protests within a section of students and teachers. The Sunday Guardian spoke exclusively to Amitabh Sinha, chairman of the governing body, on the controversy and the rationale behind renaming the college. Excerpts: Q. What was the need to rename Dyal Singh Evening College? A. Dyal Singh College was being run as both morning and evening colleges since its inception. However, what I realised is that students studying at the evening college were facing a stigma in the outside world, even when the evening college timings had changed between 1 pm and 7 pm. So, in a true sense, the evening college did not exist in modern times. Even then, students studying in the so- called evening college were facing societal stigma and were being treated as second-class students, with little or no placement. This is when I decided to change the evening college into a full-fledged morning college. It took me a lot of time and hard work to get the eve- ning college converted into a morning college and after one year and three months, I got the approval from Delhi University (DU) to run it as a full-fledged college in September this year. Now, both the morning colleges cannot run simultaneously with the same name and that is when we decided to change the name of the evening college... There are many examples of evening colleges being converted into day colleges. Deshbandhu evening college was converted into Ramanujan College, Ram Lal Anand evening college was turned into Aryabhatta College, so on and so forth. Q. What was the rationale be- hind naming of the college as “Vande Mataram” college? A. On 17 November, I convened the Governing Body meeting, as per procedural and technical requirements to look into several matters and one was renaming the evening college. Since the evening college became non-existent, a new name was therefore required for the new day college. We deliberated on names and I thought that if we name the “new” college after any other famous personality, it would hurt the sentiments of Dyal Singh Majithia and the Dyal Singh Trust. Which name can be bigger than personality? It is the motherland and mother has an unparalleled position in any society. Therefore, we came up with the name “Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya” and the name means salutation to the mother. Q. Students, teachers and former principals of the college have questioned the name change, saying it is “illegal” since the land on which the college was built was donated by Dyal Singh. A. Have you seen that agreement? There is no agreement as such. These are factually incorrect statements. This Trust was not started by Dyal Singh Majithiaji in Delhi, but was started in Lahore in 1910. After partition, the government gave them land almost free of cost in Delhi, in 1956 and in 1958, the Dyal Singh Educational Trust Society started running a college here. In 1960, DU gave affiliation to this college. But since the Trust failed to maintain the standard of education, the Trust requested the University to take over the college and in 1974, the University took over the entire college, its courses, the building, the land and everything with no terms and conditions put before the University and the resolution passed then. Q. You think you are facing flak because of your affiliation with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? A. BJP is my political affiliation. But this name came from within me and has nothing to do with my party. I am not ambitious in politics or else I would have become an MP or MLA. Q. What about infrastructure? How would you manage with students from both shifts in the existing infrastructure? A. I anticipated that this problem would occur when we run both the colleges in the same shift. I asked the principal of both the colleges for a report and we saw that we needed 22 more classrooms for first and second year students. So, we got 29 more classrooms made and the project for infrastructure development is still going on. By March 2018, another 25 class rooms will be made available to the college. Now the auditorium, playground and the canteen are still common. But these were common for the past 60 years. However, we will gradually get all the facilities for both wings of this college separately.