New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): A book which is a compilation of anecdotes and personal narratives of some of the most celebrated alumni of Delhi University, was released on Tuesday with the chapters encapsulating the true essence of the university to allow prospective students to discover its vibrant culture and student life through the eyes of famous students.
The Hindu College hosted the release of the book "Delhi University: Celebrating 100 Glorious Years" to mark the centenary of Delhi University,.
Edited by Hindu College alumnus, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, the book has brought together some of India's most illustrious and accomplished personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Tharoor, Bibek Debroy, and Imtiaz Ali.
In his remarks, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Puri said faculty and administration are the pillars of a great institute but it is the students that define an institution.
"What makes an institution great? While a great faculty and administration are the pillars of a great institute, it is the students that define an institution. We gather here today to celebrate the University of Delhi, the first in a series of celebrations to come in the years ahead."
Speaking of students' experience at college, he said, "What you gain and what you give, it stays with you as a part of your life." He then invited every speaker to reflect upon their biggest takeaways from their college days.
The book begins with a foreword by Amitabh Bachchan, an alumnus of Kirori Mal College (1958-61).
Recalling his college days, he writes, "We would stroll into each other's colleges, mix with fellow students, relax at each other's canteens, travel in the same university bus to our home locations, become bitter rivals at intercollegiate competitions, and immediately forget all that animosity to join our voices in cheering for the university when it played against another."
Among those present were Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh, Managing Partner of Karanjawala & Company Raian N. Karanjawala, renowned author and Sahitya Akademi awardee Namita Gokhale, former Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations and the former Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Lakshmi Puri and renowned film director, producer, actor Imtiaz Ali.
Dinesh Singh said there is "a defining quality of the aura of this university, in this college".
"This aura is what binds us. The university resides in the country and the country resides in the university. There is a certain irreverence that others referred to, that this University, the alma mater is a nourishing mother, that nurtures and endures everything we do as students."
Reminiscing about his days at St. Stephen's College, he said, "I used to play many practical jokes during my college days. What defines this university is everyone took them in the right spirit."
He further told the students about the rich history of the campus area, with a special emphasis on the Kamala Nehru Ridge.
Imtiaz Ali said irreverence is the first word that comes to his mind when he thinks of his experience at the campus.
"I've come to this stage many times in the past few years. Every time I come here, I feel a sense of power, as though I am invincible. I feel like I've come home. I don't know who to thank but the spirit of the College. A lot of things have come to me from this college and this University. Irreverence is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of my experience here. It's a soft power that people acquire when they come to this University. It gives you a head of your own, to think on your own," he said, reminiscing about his time at Hindu College.
The Principal of Hindu college Anju Srivastava said the work done by esteemed authors to put this book together, is truly a tribute to the past, the present and the future.
"The work you have done serves as a milestone on this great journey that this university is on, and also, as a map of its bright future. It is my hope that the hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, and staff who have been a part of Delhi University over the last 100 years will find a reflection of their memories and their attachment to this institution in this book."
Hardeep Singh Puri, who moderated the session, invited Namita Gokhale to speak, addressing her as the Zarina of the Indian literary scene.
"I feel like I've entered some wormhole back in time," she stated. She recalled her passion for literature and theatre, "During my days in college, I saw a lot of plays in Indian languages, including those of Vijay Tandulkar, Mohan Rakesh, Manohar Singh." She further said that she had no regrets even after dropping out of college.
Lakshmi Puri, spoke of her chapter in the anthology.
"I belonged to the southern campus at an all-girls college. That's the experience my chapter shares. When you asked me to author a chapter for this book, it was the first time I thought about what my college meant to me and I meant to my college. My reflection at my time at Lady Sri Ram College was a journey of rediscovering who I was. I thought about how I've evolved into who I am. It's important to realise that you're a cell in the living university body, you carry the life force of the university," she said.
She further spoke about how her experience revolved around feminism, "My chapter is called Dakshina Murti, A View from South Campus. It shares a feminist perspective of my experience at LSR. One of my biggest takeaways from college, when I look back, is that we were in the heat of the women's liberation movement."
Raian Karanjawala spoke about his days at the Sri Ram College of Commerce, "SRCC was my launching pad in life. Whatever I learned, it wasn't inside the classroom but in the corridors of my college. I made some of my closest friends there. My friend Arun Jaitley introduced me to the world of debating and student politics. In my days, debating was an exceptionally active activity. When I became a part of the student body, I became more gregarious and outgoing, leading to the person I am today."
The vote of thanks was delivered by Vice Principal of Hindu College Reena Jain. (ANI)