Saturday, February 18, 2012

JNU Alumni Reunion

A typical day in JNU means being in many places at the same time. So in the morning I was at an Ethics in Research seminar, and Raghu who was peer group in the 70s spoke interestingly about the nature of social science research and why confidentiality and security might actually raise problems for access to materials, and therefore may be detrimental to democratic discussion. At 3 pm, in an entirely different location old students of JNU gathered and Prof Romila Thapar gave us a sense of how important it was to pursue the task of academics for the sake of academics, and that the rigour that was needed was essential to the cause and could not be sacrificed for any reason. Peter De Souza in his usual charming fashion spoke about the ways in which the radical JNU student of the 70s was essentially a free spirit, fearless and concerned with the space of the University as one which depended on enterprise and dialogue. Neerja Jayal was forthright about having a future in academics where JNU would not compromise its right to be different, for that was why it was set up, that was the original mandate. The two scientists, one of them VC Sudhir Sapory said that JNU's real strength came from interdisciplinarity and they hoped that this would be further strengthened both within the Centres, and across Schools.
I skipped the alumnus dinner and the concerts because I wind up early, and hopefully no one minds that I dont turn up for evening functions. In the 15 years I have taught in JNU, I have only been to three collegial or public dinners, and clearly its okay!Thanks to Chandrashekhar Tibrewal for getting us all together, and for the great love he has for his alma mater networking with the team for many months.


  1. Had very much wanted to attend the afternoon seminar knowing it would be far more meaningful than an evening where one nursed colas and joined the buffet, listened to the Beatles, and tried to spot familiar faces among fellow greyheads 34 years on.
    Had I been a Delhi frequenter I would have opted for the auditorium session but in the limited time in the city Mughal Gardens and old haunts beckoned in the day hours...
    It wasn't even possible to spot Chandra Shekhar that evening to thank him and the team for the meticulous planning and effort that went into the 3rd JNU reunion.
    Glad I went.

  2. I was hugged at the last dinner by acquaintances I had not met for thirty seven years, so that was as perplexing as looking for familiar faces and listening to a very long mortuary list of names, who were now in the happy hunting grounds of ohters' memories. Clearly being elderly has its deficits.

  3. I must also admit that mine is the embarrassment of riches, since I live on campus, and wake up every morning to JNU while for visiting alumni it is the time of the past and these visits mean a lot to the JNU community both for the recollections as well as the optimism about the future of the university.