Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ambedkar Study Corner at D.A.V. College Library

Ambedkar Study Corner at D.A.V. College Library
D.A.V. College Jalandhar, my alma mater, is a premier educational institution of the region for the last 100 years. Today, October 28, yet another feather has been added to the cap of the college library.  The Lala Lajpat Rai Library has established a separate enclosure, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Study Corner, for the benefit of students and the faculty. It is a matter of all the more satisfaction for me personally that one of my close friends and a fellow BootanMandian, Ram Lal Dass, who is also an alumnus of D.A.V.
College, has joined hands with the college to give shape and form to the study corner by donating a rare collection of 101 books on the life, mission and thought of the greatest son of India, Babasaheb Ambedkar along with relevant paraphernalia. At a solemn function at the college library the study corner was declared open by the Senior Vice Principal G.K. Sareen in the presence of distinguished guests. The day was chosen by management particularly by Principal S.K. Arora in consultation with Ram Lal Dass and our teacher, guide and philosopher who acted as an interlocutor in this regard, Prof. K.K. Ghai. It was the day when Dr. B.R. Ambedkar delivered a lecture on parliamentary democracy in India on October 28, 1951 at D.A.V. College in Jalandhar.  The lecture is, till today and will remain so, a well documented treatise on the subject. Principal S.K. Arora, Prof. K.K. Ghai, Ram Lal Dass and other concerned deserve all appreciation and applause for this good activity and contribution not only to honour the icon Babasaheb Ambedkar but also add to the already existing good facilities at the well stocked and managed library under the control of Librarian Naveen Saini. I am confident that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Study Corner will become a hub of academic and intellectual intercourse for the larger good of students and researchers.
After the formal opening of the study corner, a session on the life, philosophy and mission of Babasaheb was held for the benefit of young students which were presided over by Principal Dr. S.K. Arora. Dr. B.B. Sharma, HOD of Political Science Department of the College in his welcome address underlined the importance of easy availability of source and reference material to students and
teachers and added Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Study Corner will fulfill the much needed requirement at the college library. Ram Lal Dass spoke with emotion and conviction and expressed happiness that one of his long cherished desires was fulfilled today as a humble tribute to the memory of Babasaheb Ambedkar with a sense of gratitude to his alma mater. He spoke on the multifaceted personality of Babasaheb and said that India was India because of the thought and vision of the great leader. Prof. K.K. Ghai spoke with total engagement and appreciated the gesture his worthy student Ram Lal Dass made in establishing the study corner. He said that he was happy to see that so many of his students and alumni of the college, who made a mark in their respective careers, were sitting on the high table. It was a matter of pride for him personally and the college.  Another distinguished alumnus of the college, IPS and retired ADGP and Chairman of UP Public Service Commission, Malkit Singh recalled his close association with Ram Lal Dass whom they used to call ‘Guru’ for his knowledge of alternative Indian political thought involving Dr. Ambedkar and others which was not so common those days. Paying glowing tributes to Babasaheb Ambedkar, Malkit Singh said that the ongoing Swacch Bharat campaign was good but there was a need to start a campaign to clean the mindset of the society for all-round development and progress of the country. Retired IPS and ADGP of J&K Dr. Lubhaya Ram Jassi spoke briefly and mentioned about the unfortunate sense of intolerance creeping in the psyche of the society at large.  I also got an opportunity to address the gathering. Nostalgia came alive in me. It was the same lecture theater where I read a paper on parliamentary democracy way back in 1968-69 at a paper reading declamation contest and quoted extensively from Babasaheb’s lecture of October 28, 1951. My na├»ve intension was not to win or lose but to bring to light the lecture of which there was no information and awareness in the college. It was gratifying to note that it was not a futile exercise. I underlined the fact that Dr.
Ambedkar was very fond of books and the college in cooperation with Ram Lal Dass did a good job by setting up a dedicated corner of his books. Quoting Lord Macaulay, “I would rather be poor in a college full of books than a King without the desire to read”, I said that the study corner was a befitting tribute to Babasaheb Ambedkar. Bringing to focus the current political and social scenario in the country, I reminded the audience of the three warnings Dr. Ambedkar so thoughtfully gave in the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949 i.e. use of constitutional means while pressing for socio-economic demands to avoid ‘Grammar of Anarchy”, shedding the tendency of Bhakti or Puja of  political leadership to ward of our democracy from the fear of dictatorship and adviced to transform political democracy into social and economic democracy, the sooner the better.  Dr. Dinesh Arora of Political Science Department, which did a yeoman’s job in facilitating Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Study Corner, ably conducted the session to make it a lively mix of ideas and thoughts propounded and generated at the function.
Generous hospitality with snacks and tea was offered both at the office of the Principal and Department of Political Science. These informal occasions provided us opportunity to unwind and socialize.



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