A Moment of Pride
A moment of pride comes and comes rarely in one’s life. I cherish the memory of my retirement from a long career in diplomacy on December 31, 2010, a moment of pride for me. Yet another such moment came, a few days ago, when my brother-in-law Prof. Balbir Chander, husband of my younger sister Sunita alias Lakshmi, retired from a 33 year long stint in the academics as Head of the Department of Political Science of the prestigious and esteemed educational institution of Punjab, Doaba College in Jalandhar on October 31, 2018. A formal send-off, or farewell, was bid by the college on November 5. It was a unique and gratifying experience to join Balbir and Sunita in the farewell functions hosted by the Management, Staff and students of Doaba College. It was a rare movement of pride. We in the IFS, because of the exigencies of service, rarely witness such occasions as one of my diplomatic colleagues Anil Sood commented on one of my FaceBook posts – “Sir, you are lucky. You have your relatives in the vicinity of your city. Wish your brother-in-law and his family a happy, healthy and contented retired life. For any person who has put in three decades or more of dedicated service, retirement is a welcome stage. I have also observed, in India, in many offices people get a very fitting send off. Such things are generally speaking missing in our service. May be due to frequent transfers.”
While I wish to avail of this opportunity to wish Balbir a happy retired life and good health, I wish to share a couple of observations with regard to this moment of pride for me and my immediate family. The citation “Commendation” conferred by the Staff of the college on Prof. Balbir Chander speaks loud and clear of the personality of their worthy colleague, and is a document to be preserved and I quote from it “Prof. Balbir will be remembered as an accomplished teacher scholar, a generous colleague and as someone who is highly focused on the common good, be it through his dedicated community service or his utmost concern for the wellbeing of our students.” Principal Naresh Dhiman of Doaba College, who himself is an academician of standing and an able educational administrator, and also Prof Dhall, a mentor of Balbir, his colleagues Prof. Johal, Prof. Mago and Staff Secretary Prof. Sandeep Chahal spoke very high of Balbir in their emotional farewell speeches. Sitting in audience, I was emotionally choked by listening to the moving words about Balbir from his colleagues. It is a sort of confession on my part that we did not, quite often, sub-consciously, give his due place and space in our daily life. I shared this inadvertent mistake with Balbir with my off the cuff remarks “Ghar da Jogi Yogda; Bahar da Yogi Sidh” – meaning that we generally don’t recognize the worth of our own man and tend to appreciate others. It was a whole hearted compliment to Balbir, an invaluable asset of our family. Balbir with impressive educational degrees, MA in Political Science (University Gold Medalist), LL. B, M. Phil and Post Graduate Diploma in Labour Laws and Management, is one of the highly educated persons not only on our family but also in the community around. He has done well in life while living a simple life. His two children, Mohit and Priya are fully qualified MBBS doctors. His son Mohit is a Medical Officer in one of the urban wellness centers in Jalandhar and daughter Priya is happily married and settled in Australia.
Balbir, a son of the soil, a humble and unpretentious man but pragmatic and down to earth and also a family oriented person, has done us proud in the first innings of his life. He is fully prepared to start his second innings, free from the limitation of service or job,in right earnest. The other day, he showed me his newly built and furnished office from where he will function and operate. He has not removed his gloves and shoes as yet. I take this opportunity to wish Balbir all the best in his second phase of life and further success and prosperity in the days to come.
अपना मुक्क़दर आप बनाते हैं एहले दिल;
हम वह नहीं जिने ज़माना बना गया!