Old friends, old memories at Panjab University’s alumni meet

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS
Monday, February 21, 2011

CHANDIGARH - Rather nostalgic about the times gone by, walking down the memory lane, and cracking jokes, the old-timers of the Panjab University marked their first university-level meet at its campus here.

“It is always good to be back,” the alumni repeated this line every time someone asked them about their feelings at the first-ever get-together in recent times.

An air of reminiscence filled the air, as alumni from 1970 batch and previous years were honoured Saturday with a memento and a shawl to be draped over shoulders.

The oldest alumnus present during the meet was 86-year-old Kuldeep Kaur.

Kaur did her matriculation from the girls school in Lahore’s Lyallpur district in 1943.

Despite health problems, she made it to the alumni meet in her wheel chair with enthusiasm. She was helped by her grand-daughter.

During our times, teacher-student relation was supreme. But now it has drastically changed,” Kaur told IANS.

“We religiously did whatever our teacher directed us to do; there were no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. This sanctity of the relationship is now missing. I was hopeful to meet some of my old classmates, but nobody has come here, Kaur said.

Motivating female students, Kaur said: “They should keep their focus clear in mind. I was engaged while I was in class eighth and was married while doing my graduation. But I continued my studies and achieved my goal. My father, who himself was a teacher, was very supportive.

Kaur had topped in MA Punjabi in 1958.

Harbans Lal Sawhnie (73) was another former student attending the event.

My teachers and Panjab University played a dynamic role in shaping my career. I owe everything to them,” Sawhnie told IANS.

Sawhnie did his graduation and post-graduation in 1957 and 1959 respectively, from the Government College in Ludhiana.

Though I did not meet any of my old friends here this time, I hope they will come next time. I am really happy that the university authorities come up with this unique idea to honour old alumni, said Sawhnie, who had retired as general manager from the State Bank of India.

The Punjab University is also the alma mater of many senior bureaucrats and senior politicians, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Singh not only completed his post-graduation in Economics from the university, but also started his teaching career here.

Manjit Mann (70), an elated alumnus, said: “I spent around four-and-half years of studies at PU. Studying at the varsity proved a turning point in my career. After passing out from here, I taught at different colleges for over 33 years.”

Mann did her post-graduation in zoology from PU in 1964.

These days I am very busy in travelling in Punjab, Shimla and Canada, but I spared some time to come to the PU to attend the alumni meet. Its all very nostalgic,” she added.

Keshwa Nand Munjal (76), another former student, said: “It is a great feeling, meeting college friends after so many years. It’s always good to be back. I cannot express it in words. I want more such events in the coming years.

Munjal did his bachelor’s in commerce from University College of Commerce in Jalandhar in 1957.

The Punjab University was established in 1882 in Lahore, now in Pakistani part of Punjab province. It was shifted to the present campus in Chandigarh’s Sector 14 in late 1950s. The university is now spread over an area of 550 acres in sectors 14 and 25.

The university has 75 teaching and research departments as well as 15 centres and chairs at the main campus.

The PU has 188 affiliated colleges across Punjab and has three regional centres in Muktsar, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur. It also has one regional rural centre in Punjab.

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