Sunday, February 26, 2017

Prof. M.L. Sondhi Memorial Lecture – II: India China Relations

Prof. M.L. Sondhi Memorial Lecture – II: India China Relations

The Second Prof. M. L. Sondhi Lecture was held on February 20, 2017. It was hosted by the designated and appointed agency - an esteemed educational institution – DAV College in Jalandhar, Punjab under the aegis of Prof. M.L. Sondhi Trust headed by Ms.
Madhuri Sondhi, the illustrious and gracious wife of Late Prof. Manohar Lal Sondhi an alumnus of DAV College Jalandhar. The lecture was delivered by an eminent diplomat and a China watcher, Ambassador Ashok Kantha, on the theme “The Current Dimensions of the Global Role of China and India-China Relations” The lecture was well attended by students and faculty of the college and also by the cross sections of the academia in and around Jalandhar.

Before joining the audience at the college auditorium for the lecture, Chief Guest Ambassador Ashok Kantha and other important guests were received and conducted by Principal Dr. S.K Arora to the college’s Hall of Fame located at the sanctum sanctorum of the 100 acres of sprawling premises of the institution.
It was a journey down memory lane adorned by the photographs of distinguished visitors and an eminent galaxy of the college alumni from different walks of life. Being one of the humble alumni of the esteemed college, I felt elated and was filled with a sense of satisfaction with step in step with my Alma mater.

At the auditorium, the venue of the lecture, Ambassador Ashok Kantha, Ms. Madhuri Sondhi and other guests were received by the representatives of students with garlands and bouquets with the traditional rituals of Tilak and chanting of Vedic mantras led by Seth Kundan Lal, Chairman of the Local Advisory Committee of
the college. The guests were conducted to the High table which was lined up by the Keynote speaker Ambassador Ashok Kantha, flanked by Ms. Madhuri Sondhi and Jalandhar Police Commissioner Arpit Shukla who presided over the function along with Seth Kundan Lal, Principal Dr. S.K. Arora, Dr. Rajeev Kunwar and Prof. Sharad Manocha and  I, myself. I was touched by the grace and magnanimity showered on me by my alma mater. The function started with the DAV anthem and lighting of traditional lamp.

Principal S.K. Arora welcomed the Chief Guest and other guests and said it was a matter of pride for them to host Prof. M.L. Sondhi Memorial lecture instituted in the name of one of their own alumni. Chairperson of Prof. M.L. Sondhi Memorial Trust Ms. Madhuri Sondhi apprised the audience about the Trust and thanked the management of the DAV College for hosting the second lecture in the memory of her late husband. She thanked, especially, Ambassador Bal Anand for his unstinted support in identifying the right and befitting key note speaker, Ambassador Ashok Kantha, for the occasion. Principal Jagdish Chander Joshi, a renowned scholar of history and a prolific exponent of Urdu poetry, spoke with conviction and authority about the life and values of Prof. M.L. Sondhi. Quoting Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Prof. Joshi paid glowing tributes to Prof. Sondhi and said:

Meri Zindagi Ka Maqsad, Ke Har Ik Ko Faiz Pahunche;
Main Chraagh-e-Raah-e-Manzil, Mujhe Har Koi Jalaai.

(Rendered into English, the couplet will be worded thus – The purpose of my life is that everyone should benefit through one’s deeds; I am a sort of lamp indicating the path leading to destiny and thus everyone should light this lamp for others)
Prof. Sharad Manocha introducing the Keynote Speaker said that Ambassador Ashok Kantha was an eminent personality and authority on India-China Relations and added that the lecture will be a land mark in the calendar of activities of DAV College.

Ambassador Ashok Kantha, as it was expected, gave a dispassionate and objective overview of the subject of the lecture “The Current Dimensions of Global Role of China and India-China Relation” to the fully engaged audience. Ambassador Kantha said China was already a global power with a big stake in the world order. He termed India-China Relations as ‘difficult’ which often comes ‘under stress’ due to historical and strategic reasons. He added that given the status of both India and China, we needed to look ‘beyond bi-lateral aspects of the relations’. He mentioned about the desirability of ‘multi-polar world and multi-polar Asia’. Referring to the increased interest of China in Pakistan and our other neibhouring countries, Ambassador Kantha said that it will remain so and termed it as ‘investment for the future’. Concluding his lecture, Ambassador Kantha said that it was gratifying to note that in spite of difficulties the India-China Relations are saddled with positives.  He pleaded for ‘strategic maturity’, pragmatic approach and fresh agenda to provide impetus to the relations for a ‘simultaneous rise’ of both the great countries. The lecture was followed by an interactive session which was lively with interesting and relevant questions from the students. It appeared they must have prepared themselves for the day under watchful guidance by their teachers and trainers.

Police Commissioner of Jalandhar Arpit Shukla in his brief Presidential remarks appreciated Ambassador Ashok Kantha for his topical address and thanked the college for inviting him. Though I was not a listed speaker yet to my happy surprise I was also invited to the podium to say a few words. It was an honour for me. I
recalled my association and interaction with my senior colleague Ambassador Kantha and thanked him for a thought provoking lecture as one of the finest diplomats of India. Braking from the seriousness of the subject, I thought of narrating a few anecdotes, to lighten the atmosphere, from our personal experiences of exciting incidents during our stay in Beijing (then Peking). It brought down the house to a relaxing state. The function was concluded and rightly so by a Vote of Thanks by Prof. Rajeev Kunwar, Dean of DAV College Alumni Association followed by the National Anthem.

We will look forward to many more such good activities in this centenary year of DAV College Jalandar in the run up to the 3rd Prof. M.L. Sondhi Lecture in February, 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment