Teachers & Akali Dal oppose renaming Dyal Singh College (evening) to Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya
Dyal Singh College’s (DSC) governing body on Friday decided that Dyal Singh (Evening) College would now be called ‘Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya’. The first evening college of the Delhi University set up in 1958 will also now be converted into a regular day college and will be renamed as ‘Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya.’ Dyal Singh (Morning) College will continue to exist as it.
Chairman of the college’s Governing Body (GB), Amitabh Sinha, a BJP leader and a lawyer, told Catch, “I do not see the problem if we change the name. We are only paying respects to Mother India. We are not disrespecting Dyal Singh as his namesake college will still continue to exist. We cannot have two colleges with the same name. ‘Vande Mataram’ means to pay obeisance to the mother. There is no politics behind the name change.”
The governing body’s decision, finalising the college name, has been sent to the Delhi University Vice-Chancellor, who will take “necessary action” and give formal approval.
Sinha also claimed that the decision was unanimous among the 16 members of the governing body.
However, GB member and English faculty Viraj Kafle said he had opposed the decision. He reported told Indian Express, “I had opposed the decision of renaming the college. This is not the correct time to be naming the college since there are more important issues, like that of bifurcation of resources. I had issues with the name but I felt that could be discussed later. I will give a written dissent note as well.”
Nandita Narain, an eminent academic of Delhi University and the former president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, told Catch, “I think the renaming of the college is completely against the wishes of the trustees. Dyal Singh College is an old college and established by an eminent, progressive, social reforms activist and his family. It is absolutely unfair for a government to come along and rename an established institution like this. I think it unacceptable and troubling to say the least, the way in which this government is pushing the Hindu Rashtra agenda. I, along with many college professors, am very unhappy with the renaming and will certainly oppose it. I don’t think the V-C should approve it.”
In fact, even BJP’s ally the Shiromani Akali Dal, is opposing the name change.
It is bcos of efforts of S. Dyal Singh Majithia, India’s leading philanthropist, that Dyal Singh College got land on lease in 1960. Dyal Singh Evening College is an imp. part of Dyal Singh Trust. Changing its name will negate his legacy. Nobody would welcome this change 1/2 pic.twitter.com/aqmZVm7wgI— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) November 18, 2017
How else wud future generations come to know abt a great philanthropist if we change name of Dyal Singh Evening college?— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) November 18, 2017
I hold highest regard for #VandeMataram. But why negate the legacy of S. Dyal Singh? If the change is not revoked, it wud result in unpleasant protests 2/2 pic.twitter.com/6isDASmbLr
The change in name isn’t the only issue. The move to convert Dyal Singh (Evening) College into a regular day college is being opposed by many students and faculty members from both the colleges, especially as it will involve bifurcation of resources and infrastructural constraints. While the college has shifted to morning timings — a DU-appointed committee is in the process of demarcating and sharing physical assets of the two colleges. Even on Friday, some teachers and students protested against the bifurcation process, outside the GB meeting venue.
Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Rajib Ray told Catch, “The governing body has decided to rename the college; I feel that there should be another round of approval. As DUTA president, I must not comment on the name change as of now. What is more important is the distribution of resources and infrastructure between the two colleges goes smoothly. We are seeing many protests regarding the issue. Neither of the two colleges is happy with the way things are going”.
“Personally, I feel that the present government and its representatives are making the most of the powers they have. Many names were circulating for the college, from Madan Mohan Malviya to KB Hedgewar, each name had a clear political connotation, so does this name in this present time,” he added.