15th day of September is special for me. I had joined D.A.V. college, Siwan as a lecturer on this day in 1962. It was my seventh and the last job. Siwan gave me stability.
Like every other child I too used to imagine romantic images for myself a. Two images were my favourite. An absent minded professor immersed in books; the other was a doctor attending a poor patient surrounded by grateful relatives of the patients. I belonged to a lower middle class family and such aspirations were very unrealistic.
This was just daydreaming and remaining oblivious of the grim hardships that were part of our life. Very few people had access to higher education those days, very few persons aspired to have higher education either.
I took up the job of a teacher in a local high school of my home town for one year after passing my intermediate examination. After graduation, I joined as a junior research assistant in the agriculture Department of Bihar government. But could not continue thee for more than a year. At the insistence of my teacher Prof B.N. Mukerjea I joined Botany Department of Patna University as a Laboratory Assistant. That job enabled me to earn my M.Sc. degree from there after three years.
Now I was qualified to achieve my aspiration. I was on look out for an opportunity. It was an unstable period in my career. Meanwhile I joined a government multipurpose higher secondary school at Turkey (Muzaffarpur) but could not stay there for more than six months, I joined a private High school at Barakar (West Bengal). I had kept seeking appointment in a college, without success. It was at this time that I applied for a post in GC.College, Silchar (Assam). They appointed me and requested me to join without delay. I was delighted but hesitant. It was a distant land. People were completely strangers, There was only one connecting link. The people there were Bengali speaking and we were conversant with the language and its culture.
Ultimately I decided to accept the offer. This was perhaps the only way to be closer to the absent minded professor whom I adored.
So I along with my wife and three month old infant son set out for Silchar.
It was like leaping into the unknown without props. The landscape was new, the people were new, but it proved to be a life’s treasure. The secretary of my college was a fatherly figure. He took care of our stay and finances. I could establish a very cordial rapport with my colleagues and students too.
Over time I was lucky in making acquaintances and friends in the town. They were so nice people. May be I happened to meet only the good persons, May be it was just a coincidence that they liked us. They were victims of the partition of India. As Shree Anant Deb told me, “You people in the mainland have not paid the price of independence from British rule. We have. We have had to leave our home and hearth and are now designated displaced persons and refugees. We had to start from scratch.”
He and other friends narrated the stories of their struggle, resistance and nostalgia. The group consisted people from different professions. Lawyer, Doctor, compounder, salesman, contractor and commited political workers. In the evenings we used to assemble in Anant deb’s shop ove a cup of tea. Incidentally he was a tea merchant, used to purchase tea from tea gardens and sell to retailers.They sang love songs as well as songs of resistance and hope. They were so loving. They provided assurance and security.
But we had to leave, though there was no compulsion. We had gone to our home during summer vacation. There we learnt that Bihar Government had constituted a university service commission to ensure fair recruitment of lecturers in private colleges. I applied in response to an advertisement . I was selected for appointment to D.A.V. College, Siwan. As Shree Ashutosh Dutta, the secretary of my college told me, “You have come far away from your father. Now that you have got an opportunity to be near him, you should leave.” We stayed there for twenty months to be exact. And when we left, I was much more equipped to face and contribute to living And a lot of faith in the capacity of man to love.
That is the story of my coming to Siwan. It proved to be my last destination. Siwan gave me stability, recognition, love and respect too. . Siwan helped me to know myself. I lived in Shekh Mohalla, with muslim neighbourhood for almost five years comfortably. It was a very rewarding experience. We found them much like us. I could get the friendship of Dr Achyut Ghosh. He had a rich library. He made his library freely available to me. I got to know Manik Banerjee and his literature. It was a great experience. It has stayed with me and enriched me. But the “absent minded professor” immersed in books remained elusive, an unrealised utopia. I had to make a choice, – “Either you grow or your children will grow; both cannot grow simultaneously”. I had to opt to allot much of my energy and resources for home management. I did not grow as I should have. Though I became professor by designation, being the professor of my romantic childhood continued to elude me.