When Nehru Met the Students of Lucknow University by Shubha Tiwari SignUp
When Nehru Met the Students of Lucknow University
Prof. Shubha Tiwari Bookmark and Share

My father often tells an incident of his college days. This is an incident of late 50s. It was time for general elections in the country. Election campaigning was in full swing. Lucknow was also not unaffected by the political waves. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru came to Lucknow to campaign for his party. Sensing a good opportunity, the students thronged at Amousi airport and asked Panditji to speak. Thousands of students along with my father sat in the jam-packed auditorium to have a glimpse of the hero-leader – Prime Minister of the country and listen to him.

Panditji came. He was undoubtedly handsome. He began his lecture on the enduring charm of India, her roots, her voyage through the passage of time, her falls, her victories and her immortal spirit. He spoke of India with such love as he was speaking about an intimate friend. In flawless English, he addressed the students for more than two hours. There was pin drop silence. Mesmerized, everyone listened to the worthy son of the motherland. There was magic in the air. It was a perfect class on history and culture of India. 

What my father, himself a professor, remembers so fondly is the fact that Panditji did not utter a single word on politics, elections and voting . My father still wonders at the instant lecture of Nehru and that too absolutely without political rancor or any political reference for that matter.  That was Nehru’s stature. He knew what an educational campus ought to be. A University is a temple of learning. Campuses are not to be politicized. A university is a place where intellectuals live, think freely and express themselves fearlessly. You don't have to create vote-banks in these institutions. Today, universities have become ‘akharas’ of politics. 

I remember this incident whenever a politician comes to the university, whenever the whole official machinery is geared up to foil the security threat, keeping in view the grade of security (z or otherwise) of the politician, whenever the politician opens his mouth to spit venom on his political rivals, promotes his party from the dais of the university, talks of his party's electoral symbol and so on and so forth. Today's politicians have perhaps forgotten what a university is. They may be hungry for power but they don't have to devour universities for that. An educational institution has its own sanctity; that sanctity must be maintained and respected. 

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Comments on this Blog

Comment A  truly  enjoyable piece of writing .   How I   wish  I    were there to listen to the lecture of Pt  Nehru! 

Arundhati Sarkar
04/20/2012 03:46 AM

Comment It was nice to read your blog on Nehru's capability. Hillol

Hillol Das
03/07/2012 04:03 AM

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