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The opposition to renaming Dyal Singh (Evening) College to Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya is growing further, with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Sunday passing a resolution against the move, stating that it has hurt the sentiment of Sikhs.
The DSGMC asked why the governing body wants to undermine the contribution of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, the founder of The Tribune newspaper and Punjab National Bank. “We are already in minority, so why was there a need to change the name of Dyal Singh College? Shouldn’t our children know about the contribution of Sikh leaders? It is such a shame that they are also dragging the national song into the controversy. Since we opposed the move, they have been building this narrative that we are against the words Vande Mataram, which is untrue. We are just saying let the name remain Dyal Singh,” said Rajouri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa, also the general secretary of DSGMC.
The Governing Body of Dyal Singh College had, in a meeting held on Friday, decided that Dyal Singh (Evening) College would be called ‘Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya’ once it is converted to a morning college. Since Dyal Singh (Morning) College already exists, Dyal Singh (Evening) College — set up in 1958 and the first evening college in Delhi University — will have to be renamed.
The DSGMC said it has given the college governing body three days to roll back the decision to change the name, failing which they will hit the streets in protest. Sirsa and Tarlochan Singh, former Chairman National Minority Commission, said Dyal Singh Education Trust Society had purchased the land to run the college and renaming it is a conspiracy to usurp its land and property. Dyal Singh College gets 95 per cent of its funds from the government and the rest from the trust.
“Had the evening college been shifted to a new space, this renaming would have made sense. What right does the governing body have to take such an action?” Sirsa asked. Governing Body Chairman Amitabh Sinha said, “There is an attempt to give a religious tone to this, which is unfortunate. We are here to set a good precedence because this is not a political issue.”
He said Dyal Singh Majithia was a bigger nationalist than “any of us” because “we just give our time and labour to the cause of nation but he gave his entire property for his motherland”.