Opposing the decision to change the name of Dyal Singh College to Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya, a group of educationists met on Monday to seek the Centre’s intervention. The group, which included some members of the Sikh community, passed a resolution to prevent a change in the name of the college which commemorates the 19th century activist Dyal Singh Majithia.
“It’s the matter of national pride. Dyal Singh College, Punjab National Bank, Tribune newspaper are the legacy of Dayal Singhji. The name of the college cannot be changed at any cost. There is no reason to change the name,” said BJP legislator Manjinder Singh Sirsa.
“We are not talking about the trust or its ownership. We are neither trustees nor do we claim to be his (Dyal Singh’s) heir,” Sirsa said. He added that the issue will not be given communal colour and that another meeting will be held soon to decide the next course of action.
The meeting was chaired by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar who stated that the move to change the name to “Vande Mataram” was a serious matter and that it was not without design. He commented that attendees of this meeting ought to explore all options of dialogue rather then resorting to rash decisions.
The change of name was announced by the college’s governing body on November 18, which said that the Dyal Singh (Evening) College should be called Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya in order to not clash with the Dyal Singh (Morning) College. This move was opposed by the Dyal Singh College Teachers Association president PK Parihar, who noted that the premises were too cramped to accommodate two colleges.
“Originally the building was supposed to support only 1,000 students but now there are 6,000. Now with the Evening college turning into Morning, this will go up to 12,000. The decision is going to affect us all,” Parihar said.