Saturday, September 10, 2011

Telling the story of a college--Jai Hind College, Churchgate--how the college received its dynamic name.”

A kaleidoscope of memories
Sucharita Kanjilal, Hindustan Times
Mumbai , August 15, 2011
First Published: 01:02 IST(15/8/2011)
Last Updated: 01:04 IST(15/8/2011)
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“Now, in the days of nascent freedom, there was much patriotism in the air, especially among the Sindhi refugees who had lost so much at the moment of Independence. Many Sindhi Hindus, coming to India by sea, had shouted ‘Jai Hind’ once their ship left the Karachi harbour …Thus, the new college received its dynamic name.”
Telling the story of a college established amidst the chaos and trauma of the partition, Jai Hind College, Churchgate launched a book titled ‘I Will & I Can’ on July 27.
Through a compelling narrative, it describes the journey of a college established in a newly independent India by using interviews and old photographs to chronicle its history.  “We had been toying with the idea of writing this book for a long time,” said Kirti Narain, principal of Jai Hind College.

Jai Hind College was not always big. It was very small indeed when it was born in the wake of the Partition of India in August 1947. The men who played a major role in its creation were professors of D.J. Sind College, Karachi, assisted by a few other educationalists who came together under the banner of Sind Educationists' Association headed by Principal T.M. Advani.
Initially, their tireless efforts to find accommodation for a college were to no avail. Mr. G.I. Patel, a powerful member of the Syndicate of the University of Mumbai, suggested that the premises ofElphinstone College be used during morning hours to begin with. The proposal was readily accepted and admission started for the Arts faculty in June 1948, with a formal inauguration in September 1948 at the Elphinstone College Library Hall.
In early 1949, Principal T.M. Advani arranged for a bungalow named "Goolshan" at Peddar Road to serve as a nucleus for a science college.
The college could hardly afford to pay rent for a bungalow, let alone equip the laboratories. At this stage, Mr. Bhagwansingh B. Advani, the sole trustee of the Basantsing Anil Dharmada Trust, stepped in with a generous donation of Rs. 1,25,000, a princely sum in those days. In response to his wishes, the college was named Jai Hind College and Basantsing Institute of Science. A small bungalow near Goolshan served as a hostel for the refugee students.
It was proving to be rather inconvenient that the Arts and Science faculties of the college were five miles apart. Mr. Morarji Desai who was then the Home and Revenue Minister of Bombay finally sanctioned, in a prime location a plot for the Jai Hind College building at "A" Road, Backbay Reclamation. Being close to the Churchgate Railway Station, students from the suburbs found the college easily accessible. Mr. Desai also kindly consented to lay the foundation stone of the building on September 14, 1950.
Much, however, still remained to be done. The building was estimated at over Rs. 10 Lacs. Where was the money to Inaugurationcome from? Colleagues and friends loaned their hard-earned savings. An intensive drive to raise funds in the form of donations was launched and cultural shows were put on to augment these funds. In 1951, the Union Rehabilitation Minister, Mr. Ajit Prasad Jain, sanctioned a grant of Rs. 4 Lacs. With these finances the construction started and the building was completed in time to start the B.Sc. Class of June 1952. The first batch of students numbered 250 of which nearly half were refugee students. The college building was formally declared open by the thenVice President Of India, Dr. Radhakrishnan.
Jai Hind, however, was still in the need of a hostel. The Revenue Department of the Government of Bombay released one plot of land behind the college at "B" Road. The foundation for the hostel was laid by the Honourable Minister of Education, Mr. Dinkerrao Desai on April 15, 1956.
A unique feature of the founding of Jai Hind College was the stellar role played by the former teachers of the D.J. Sind College, Karachi. It was their indomitable will at a time of historical crisis that saw the college in place. Regrettably all those who constituted this band of dedicated teachers cannot be named, but mention must be made of Principal T.M.Principal T.G. KhubchandaniAdvani, Prof. S.G. Khubchandani, Prof. Ram Panjwani, Prof. G.G. Kewalramani and Prof. T.G. Khubchandani. The college was to thrive because of the intellectual resources provided by them. Besides providing educational opportunities for the Sindhi community, the college also played a role in preserving the cultural resources of the community. The seminal work of writers like Prof. M.U. Malkani and Prof. K.B. Advani (who wrote the definitive edition of Shah-jo-Rassallo) was done while simultaneously enriching and inspiring their students in class. It was the efforts of these founders that formed the bedrock of the college's future glory.

“The book took two years to complete, and has been wonderfully well-received, particularly by our alumni,” Narain added.
Like Jai Hind College, several premier institutions across the city are releasing books on their history to celebrate their milestones.

As part of their 50-year celebrations, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) launched a book in 2008 titled, Monastery, Sanctuary, Laboratory: 50 years of IIT-Bombay. The book throws light on IIT’s popular culture such as their on-campus slang, college rituals and legends.
St. Xavier’s college, Dhobi Talao, released a coffee table book in 2009 to celebrate 140 years since their inception. Replete with quotes from eminent alumni, excerpts from college magazines published over the years and the occasional commentary on college events, it details the rich heritage of the college.
The photography by renowned photographer David Desouza is a striking feature of this 173-page book. Desouza has captured the gothic architecture and vibrancy of the college in a series of snapshots.
“I was part of a photo shoot for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the college canteen. It was an amazing experience, and it will be fun to look at that picture after so many years,” said ex-student, Shriya Pilgaonkar.