To sir,with love…

Authority is never without hate,said Euripides,the Greek poet. The old master was correct on most accounts...

Written by Rajni Shaleen Chopra | Published: February 12, 2009 3:15:46 am

With great power comes great responsibility,and these three academicians,who retired recently,are loved not just as teachers,but superb human beings too by their students & colleagues

Authority is never without hate,said Euripides,the Greek poet. The old master was correct on most accounts,but it is a sweet coincidence that his take on hate accompanying authority is belied by three academicians of our city. Like a popular ad puts it across rather humorously,the boss is seldom liked. And for most people who retire at the top,it’s goodbye and good riddance. Not so for these three,who retired from three leading educational centres of Chandigarh,loved not only by their students,but peers too.

Prof RS Grewal,former Director of University Institute of Legal Studies,Panjab University,is perhaps one of the most-loved faculty members on campus. He is the founder-director of the institute,which was set up in 2004. He retired a few months back and is now re-employed in the same department. For his students,‘Grewal Sir’ is as revered as ever. Sorabh Sharma,a final-year student of the department,points out that even new students in the department soon find out that Prof Grewal is ‘a parent away from home’.

Sorabh,who has been in the department for almost five years now,says what makes students dote on Prof Grewal is his approach towards everything. “He stands by you if you are right. And if you do anything wrong,he scolds you like a loving parent. He is a real friend,who helps us both as a parent and a guide,” says the youngster. At Prof Grewal’s retirement party,his students made a power-point presentation on the Director,recording his life’s journey from the time he was a student of law. The students had taken photographs from Prof Grewal’s daughter,and left him moist-eyed with their loving words.

Prof Grewal began his career in the Punjab Excise Department,“I left it a year later,because I felt suffocated by the corruption there. Being a teacher has been one of the best things that has happened to me,” he smiles.

In DAV College,Sector 10,such love was showered upon another academician of the city – Prof Umesh Vinayak,who headed the Department of Economics. It is interesting that Prof Vinayak’s fan club included not just his students,but an amazing number of his colleagues too. When he retired last year,it was not just the boys and girls who brought along bouquets and big,affectionate cards. The teachers presented Prof Vinayak with a plaque made especially for him,the first time such a gift had been presented to a faculty member.

It said,“Those who are searching for essence of affection,the substance of smiles,and the significance of purpose and effort,must ask for the address of Prof Umesh Vinayak,who during his long and wonderful stay at DAV College,has been the most dependable colleague,the most adorable teacher,and the most affectionate friend.” The plaque,which ran into four more paragraphs,is signed,‘Friends and Admirers’.

Prof Vinayak is now the Dean Students Welfare (DSW) at Chitkara University. “I got so much love at DAV College. And here at Chitkara,in a whole new environment,the essential values remain the same – of working together for the progress of the institute.”

Prof Rajnish Wattas,who retired as Principal of College of Architecture,puts it rather candidly,“Principals usually end up with egg on their face from the faculty. But I was rather touched not just by the affection shown by the students,but also by my colleagues. The beautiful art sculptures that the faculty members gave me,it was clear,were chosen with great sensitivity,” he recalls. Bhim Malhotra,a faculty member of the college,recalls that the farewell party for Prof Wattas,and the gifts too,had been lovingly planned by the teachers.

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