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Brushing the dust off trivia on Delhi University colleges

On Saturday,a group of 10 people came together to uncover trivia,anecdotes and moments about the North Campus of Delhi University,which usually remain hidden in college archives or in people’s memory.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
November 3, 2009 1:22:45 am

Heritage walk around North Campus reveals proud,interesting moments of colleges’ past

* In 1942,the students of Indraprastha (IP) College sent the Muslim soldiers fighting in World War II rakhis as part of a campaign they called Rakhi Expedition. In response,the then district administration decided to cut wheat rations to the college hostel because they thought communal harmony was not a good idea.
* In 1935,IP students were asked to record their race and caste. A certain Asma Said on June 4,1935,simply signed ‘Mughal’.
* The Non-Cooperation Movement of 1922 was drawn up in the office of the then principal of St Stephen’s College,S K Rudra,who also was the first Indian principal of the college.

On Saturday,a group of 10 people came together to uncover trivia,anecdotes and moments about the North Campus of Delhi University,which usually remain hidden in college archives or in people’s memory.

As part of the special heritage walk orgainsed by Surekha Narain,the group explored IP College,St Stephen’s College,Hindu College,among others.

Meena Bhargava,reader in History at IP College,led the group around the campus. Talking about the ration cut imposed on the college in 1942,she highlighted an article by the newspaper National Call,which chose to discuss the positive side of the ban in its September 3,1942 edition.

“In these days when slimming is becoming a craze,especially among girls,the Indraprastha College might take virtue of an indiscretion and open its premises to a slimming sanatorium,” said the newspaper,suggesting that the college could consider compulsory slimming courses. “That,by itself,should attract more students,” the article read.

Emphasising students’ determination,Bhargava said,“The college day was coming up and the students were determined not to let the ban affect it. They managed with contributions from their own pockets. The embargo went on till 1945.”

The wheat ban was not to be the only time when IP students stood up against authority. “In 1956,the university said it had no funds for a swimming pool; then students and teachers raised money on their own,” Bhargava said.

Anshul Verma,a Stephanian,led the group during the walk around St. Stephen’s,who told the group about the mystery of missing ‘t’ from ‘St’ in the college’s foundation laying plaque. In the foundation stone plaque,laid by C F Andrew on March 7,1939,the name of the college was simply misspelt.

Outside the Hindu,Verma chose to discuss the Stephen-Hindu past. “St Stephen’s had its campus at Kinari Bazar from 1881-90. Hindu was established at Kinari Bazar in 1899. Stephen’s moved to the Kashmere Gate campus in 1891; Hindu moved to its Kashmere Gate campus in 1902. In 1941,we moved to our present campus; they moved to theirs in 1953,” he said. The details were summed up with: “That is why,to us,they have been just a college across the road.”

The group also visited the Vice Chancellor’s office premises,Delhi School of Economics and the Faculty of Arts.

Narain conducts specialised walks like a 1911 British Colonial Delhi Walk,1857 Mutiny Walk and a Ghalib Trail. She can be contacted at 9811330098.

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