Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beatae Memoriae : 1
Patna University Centenary
It was in October, 1917 that Patna University came into existence. The Centenary Celebrations are on in Patna. Those who have been educated there are growing nostalgic. Academics of every discipline in the University in humanities or sciences have their own cherished memories of the golden era when the University was known as the ‘Oxford of the East’. What follows is very closely related to the Oxford story : a man educated at Oxford who taught us in his inspired and inimitable ways with a lisping Oxford accent when we were there in the University during the fifties. It is a memoir-cum-intimate interview written decades later for a memorial volume on Dr R.K. Sinha, who did his M.A. from Patna University in 1937 (first class first), obtained his Ph. D. on D.H. Lawrence from Oxford in 1950, and served Patna University from 1938 till 1979. Here is a brief memoir followed by the interview held at his home in Patna one winter afternoon in 1994. He lay enveloped in a thick quilt reading a fat volume in his hand. In a very relaxed chat, he talked about his days in Oxford and then at Patna University and more…
I still have that precious recording,that rich voice heard in that lisping Oxford accent, captured in my SONY microcorder, a timeless treasure to cherish! 
The rest was silence…
A journey down the memory lane
It was in April, 1964; April 23 to be more exact. Time flies : over half a century gone! It was in the English department of the R.D. & D. J. College, Munger, where I had joined in 1959, soon after doing M.A. from Patna University. There I had organized a two-day celebration of the Shakespeare's birth quatercentenary with the help of the British Council, Calcutta. I had approached Dr. R.K. Sinha to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. Kapilji, our Principal, had personally requested him to come. Maheshpur, Dr. Sinha’s ancestral village, is only a few kilometers away from Munger. Very near to my residence, almost behind it, was the thatched, rather dilapidated, single room tenement of Dr. Sinha, where he used to stay whenever he came to Munger. I was to get him from there. I found him lying on a ramshackle cot waiting for me to turn up. I could never imagine that our revered professor from Oxford, who always exuded an aristocratic charm with his tin of ‘555’ or 'Three Castles' almost always in his hands, and his typical Oxford accent and intonation when he delivered his splendid lectures to us, could be so utterly simple and humble in his demeanour, lying on a rustic cot in a rustic setting... But, in our college, when he rose to speak on Shakespeare, it was like listening to a classical symphony. It was absolutely spell-binding. I had heard him for hours on Shakespeare during my M.A. days - those were the lectures that fostered in us the sense and sensibility for English literature; they were like
... a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth ...
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;...

But that one-hour summation of the quintessence of Shakespeare transported us
to that 'already with thee' experience….

Then about three decades later, almost at the end of my own career as a teacher,
 I seized an opportunity of sitting again at the feet of our sage teacher. I took my camera and tape-recorder along with me. Dr. Sinha was wrapped in a heavy quilt, half-lying, half-sitting on his bed, propped against a couple of pillows, reading a fat volume,
The Shobha De Omnibus. My friend Narayan Achari, known to him as a book-lover, was also with me.

Dr Sinha had done his D.Phil. from Oxford on ‘Literary Influences on D.H. Lawrence’ in 1950 when the great modern English novelist was much in controversy because of his sexually explicit novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). Even his first novel Sons and Lovers (1913) had raised a storm in the literary circles of the Edwardian era. But Lawrence had also written some plays and I wanted to know Dr Sinha’s views on Lawrence’s dramatic writing.

 I initiated the discussion by asking Dr Sinha about  Lawrence's plays particularly in relation to his short stories and the possible technical cross-fertilization that might have taken place. This is how our talk began...

       RKS: That was one portion I ignored (he began) while I was writing my thesis. At that time,
I think, there was only one volume of three plays by Lawrence. Now, I hear, that all the five or more plays have been published. I liked the play
David, perhaps; more than the
two other realistic plays, because the realistic plays were very reminiscent of the realistic
short story, whereas David was a new start, a move in a different direction, and I had
occasion to quote from David also in my thesis. That play I really enjoyed...

MM: Is there a reference to David in your thesis that has been published ?

RKS: Yes, I think, there must be some brief quotation...The first two plays in that
edition The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd and the other one,... they are reminiscent of the
stories, and since Lawrence didn't have mastery over the technique of play writing although
it was a fruitful occupation.., yet some people had praised Lawrence for managing this
scene or that scene very well. But I was not very convinced. There are so many other
things that we appreciate in Lawrence, and the whole corpus of Lawrence and of world

literature was there before me to consider. What mattered more to me - what things
what philosophers, what playwrights influenced Lawrence’s poems or poetry?... So that,

I wasn’t interested in the replica of the short story that you get in the first two plays is that          three-play edition that was in publication then. But the other one, David; that is in
Lawrence's biblical mood, Lawrence with his philosophy of power.. There is not much
of sex there, not much of philosophy there. ‘Not I, not I, but the wind that blows
through me...’ You get that feel from the very style, a magnificent capturing of that biblical
style in that play
David, in all the speeches of Samuel and the others, and they are very
powerful speeches. When you read them, you feel that this Lawrence is so much above
the earlier Lawrence. But when you read the short stories,… well, they are stories signifying
a new way, stories of that kind were not being written in England at that time. They were
common enough in France, but in England it was rather new... Or even
The Rainbow was
very new. But this later Lawrence, the author of
The Man Who Died, and some of the
other parables that you get there; that is a different Lawrence, and the two had an entirely
different flavour... But have you got hold of the newly published volume of Lawrence's
complete plays? I gather that the new volume has been published, although I haven't seen
 Yes, I have managed to procure a copy, and, personally, too, l am interested in the
similarities and parallelisms between these plays and some of Lawrence s short stories of that

Well I haven't seen them, I have only heard of them, because at that time these
plays were not available in published form... Well, even so, it would be interesting to
study the difference between the play
David and the two earlier plays, particularly the
difference in the tone...

        Travelling down the memory lane for a while, tell us something about your experiences as a scholar, when you were doing your research on Lawrence at Oxford, your colleagues, and your guide, and the problems that you faced there...

Well, I was very fortunate in having Lord Cecil as my guide, a guide who left
you to explore, explore on your own,., that is supposed to be a Ph.D. or D. Phil thesis. You have to do your own exploration. And I often recount one episode to most people. When I had written one chapter of my thesis, which you must have read in your college days;
The Problem of Form in Fiction; it was published in the Patna University Journal…. I had been comparing Henry James and Lawrence, and although James had come into favour in England at that time, I had started reading James, and I had read a few of his novels, and I was weighing them in the scale and my verdict was very much in favour of Lawrence and against the vacuum that is in the hollow Bowl of James. And David Cecil started talking. He had read Henry James in the early days, 1914 or 1915. He had read James in the revival period, it was the period of revival of Henry James when I was in England... And that had made me introduce Henry James in the M.A.  syllabus in Patna University when I returned from Oxford. There used to be no James before then…. When Lord Cecil read what I had written, he said: Don’t you think there is poetry in it? I said: Yes, now that you say it, I'll read the novel again. But shall I change this portion?,..No, no, he said, by no means; do not delete a single word, they have been beautifully written, I like that passage, and your verdict must stand as you thought about Lawrence and James. Let it stand as it is. Do not change it,... and so forth. That was his attitude. You do your own exploration and if you have reached a certain conclusion, state your conclusion. Who am I to change your conclusions? Then those will be my views and it’s your thesis, a thesis representing your views. You must go on writing in this way. You have managed this chapter very well. That was the first chapter I had shown. He said, I hope you will continue to write like that.... So there wasn’t any active guidance from him, but there were points of departure for me to take up, to think about. That was the way David Cecil was.... In those days not much of research was done on Lawrence; yes, as a matter of fact, had my thesis been published when it was submitted to Oxford, I think it would have been, apart from the few essays of F.R. Leavis, the first book on Lawrence...

In fact, that is what I had pointed out in my review of a book, a Bibliography of
Lawrence's corpus, where the editor in his Introduction had criticized your book for being

Oh yes, I remember to have read your review, but that fellow seems to be ill-informed             and not possessed of the historical sense. When I have already said in my book
which constitutes my research work of the three years 1947-49, then...

Yes, that is what I pointed out in my review, (and the editor, Dr. Sachchidanand
Mohanty, later concurred with my views).

Yes, that is obvious. Had I been writing a book today, it might have been very
different; the emphasis would have been very different. So that essay didn’t seem to me
to be remarkable. The fellow said something since he had to say. If only he had taken
some pains to find out when this essay of mine had been written, and if he could compare
it with anything else that was published even in the year 1951... I think it was Father
Tiverton’s book that came in the early 50s or so, and then the spirit of the book would
start coming. So where is the book he'd place alongside this essay of mine? He's talking
of Fascism in all the successive years, but for the researcher the most remarkable thing is
the letter from Germany written in 1924 and similar remarks scattered in the same years,
or the scene in
Arons Rod..., because Lawrence is himself an initiator of Fascism. But
Fascism, the principles of Fascism, what somebody had written in the latest book in
1969 or 1979... How does it matter in a study or review of Lawrence? When you are
reviewing this book you should find out what books were available at that time
Actually, he hadn't even reviewed your book; he had only made certain comments in the Introduction of that Bibliographical book on Lawrence. It was just a passing remark I contradicted it in my review of that book... You rightly said that he lacked historical sense, when he wrote that comment.

Yes. See, one shouldn't write an essay, or if you write, be prepared to
maintain your point of view. Talking about Lawrence's Fascism, it doesn't help us much to know how Fascism has been interpreted in 1879-89 or even 1929 or 1930 or some of the posthumous books of Lawrence... that would be far more valuable, unless somebody is taking the genesis of Fascism from Mussolini onwards, or from Nietzsche onwards, this idea
of power, or the concept of power.

Then he veered towards Lawrence’s encounters with American Literature and Walt Whitman.

           Lawrence has written an important essay on Whitman in his Studies in Classic
American Literature
... And you can see why Eliot wouldn't touch the poetry of Whitman
and rather
go to Jules Laforgue in France to discover free verse. He won't touch Whitman's
free verse, he would go to Laforgue, which he would, because Laforgue had to be
introduced and the tone and idiom of Laforgue is to be found in Eliot's early poetry
There are remarkable imitations, imitations that came naturally to Eliot. They are
remarkable poems; even those early poems are remarkable... they began as imitations,
but imitations of a man who was very much like T.S. Eliot. The kind of poetry Eliot
wanted to write, although he wrote better poems even then, or came to write better
poetry... No, better even than Jules Laforgue. Whitman he never attempted to imitate. I
think, he must have read him, but he doesn't confess it. He doesn't want people to say
Oh, Whitman? Another American influenced by Whitman? He doesn't want anybody
to say that. That is only in the unconscious, carrying that stigma. So he would explore,
but in England he knew there was nothing to explore in this poetry. But in France things
had been happening since the symbolists; ever since Baudlaire started writing, Rimbaud
and all that, upto Mallarme or even Paul Valery. They were contemporaries. Eliot was
willing to learn from, to listen to them, and he proved to be a better poet than any of them
except Baudlaire, who was greater than all of them. But Eliot proved to be better than
most of them; I’d say even Paul Valery. But I had read Valery only in translation, and
because it is a matter of style, I didn't want to be unfair to him. But Eliot, I suppose, is a
greater figure in poetry than Valery; right from Baudlaire to Mallarme to Valery. Eliot
has written an essay “From Poe to Valery" and that tells you the whole story. So Eliot
himself is a greater figure than all of them because he went on exploring. Whitman has
left very little to explore but Lawrence had been experimenting, and I’d suggest you read
that essay...

 Indeed, I read that book during my own research on Poe's Tales. But could you now please tell us something about your own experiences as a student and then a teacher in Patna University; I mean, your recollections of those days? Who were the professors who taught you or a little about your colleagues in the department?

Yes, 1 remember Hill whose lecture on Wordsworth's sonnet 'On Westminster
Bridge' was a memorable achievement, especially because he could read poetry as nobody
else could, or for that matter, even in England perhaps Dylan Thomas could read poetry
as well. Even the average professors at Oxford, they read poetry in a most uninspiring
manner, F.R. Leavis would come and present a list of five poems. Kalim Ahmad, he was
a student of F.R. Leavis.

 Was Kalim Saheb also your teacher?...

Yes, I had joined English Honours in 1933 after giving up science... Yes, that
was in 1933. I had moved from Cavendish hostel to the Jackson hostel. Kalim Saheb
had just joined as lecturer in the same year in July. And I remember those early days,
when Kalim Saheb used to be very nervous. He was delivering his first lecture before about             60 boys, and his legs were shaking; shaking so much that his trousers were shaking
and some of the boys started laughing... (Laughter) But we, of course, were all admiration
for the great man who had just come back from Cambridge, and who was a student of
F.R. Leavis, and for all that... that criticism we might have, we gave him all admiration.

 What did he teach you?

He was teaching us modern drama and he spent quite a few months over the              beginning of modern drama, sketching Pinero and all that. Not very inspiring lectures,
because he remembered all, but delivered it in such a hasty way. He couldn't face the
boys. He'd start the roll call: One! And he would look to the door. He wouldn't look at
the boys. But that was only initial nervousness. Later on he became used to the students
and gained the confidence that was in him. Because whatever he had read, he had digested,
and he had reached conclusions, conclusions that were ...., he too was rigid, perhaps, but
unshaken. That way he was very useful to students who wanted fixed opinions…
And how was Professor Rahman?

Mr Rahman was altogether different; an inspired talker, though nothing like
Hill when he was inspired. But Mr Rahman would get carried away by the author, by the
subject he was teaching, whether it was Joseph Conrad,... and he would reproduce the
whole scene from The Arrow of Gold or Frazer's Golden Bough, or whether it was William
Morris from the Victorian age. He will get inspired, he would put himself in that position
and get inspired. The trouble was, when I became a lecturer... but this is sotto voce, not
to be spoken aloud... Mr Rahmnan's approach was marked by a lack of fixity, contrasted
to Kalim Saheb’s rigidity....
One day he was teaching William Morris from the Golden Treasury. You know the          historical sense and all that Morris was, that was remarkable, as a painter, as a poet, as a               maker of verse, and as a progenitor of socialism. He started talking about some of these things.       He couldn't say much, but the praise went to the appreciation of Morris’s poem, which
wasn't a particularly remarkable poem. But 1 was a new teacher, and the students were
very close to me. And they came and said: Sir, we had a wonderful lecture today. But is
Morris the best among the Victorian poets? Obviously, they had got that impression
from Mr. Rahman's impassioned lecture. When 1 told Mr Rahman about it, the next day
he went and modified that impression, and came down to brass tacks. But he was a man                 who could get inspired, and when so inspired, he would inspire all his students. Among
his earliest students, some of them who are now dead, was Shyam Nandan Singh, who
was the Chief Justice of Patna High Court... There's nothing to compare Kalim Saheb
and Rahman Saheb. Rahman Saheb was just wonderful, and that is anybody's opinion
who has listened to his lectures, and has got himself swayed by them; though his lectures
were not as exact as Hill's lecture on Wordsworth's sonnet. But they were inspired literature
that led Mr Rahman to compose in his head and give it to us. That was the man, the
professor we remember...

 Did Professor D. D. Chatterji also teach you?...

No, Devidas didn't have a chance to teach us. He was sent to take a P.G. class
and he got nervous, perhaps, and he taught for 40 minutes with all those books he had
brought along, of which we hardly followed a thing, and in 40 minutes he gave out all he
had to say and ran away!... (Laughter) That was the earliest Mr Chatterji....

As a teacher with such long experience, who have been your favourite authors you personally loved teaching, besides Lawrence?

 Well, Shakespeare, of course. And you as student must have attended my lectures and know that 1 wanted to explore and take the students along the path of exploration.
There was nothing as a subject that I’d love more to teach than Shakespeare...

We loved those explorations, Sir, all your lectures on Shakespeare and the Renaissance. No one could teach us like that... Well, Shakespeare is truly inexhaustible... Yes, that is the feeling you created among us...

Oh, yes, I never got tired of Shakespeare. Usually I take up an author: the first
year is an exploration, the second year is more exploration, the third year 1 consolidated
my views, and the fourth year would be more or less repetition; then I’d move onto some
other author. But in Shakespeare there is no moving away from Shakespeare. There is
such abundance, and you keep on changing from
Macbeth to King Lear to Henry IV.
There is such a galaxy of characters from Falstaff to Macbeth, and also from Falstaff to
King Lear, or from Falstaff to the Fool in King Lear, it’s a permanent exploration. But
that doesn't mean that other poets arc not interesting, some poets arc teachable because
you dislike them, Shelley was one of them. As a disciple of F.R. Leavis from a distance I
took up Shelley for pointing out what excesses can be committed in poetry, what excesses
of           bad taste that can be committed in poetry in Shelley's lyrics. Now that was a very good
starting point. Then you came to some of the good points in Shelley. Some of his better
poems, with less tainted emotionality. You could praise Shelley also, but it was
so easy to
criticize Shelley, tear him to bits, and my students whom I taught Shelley must have wondered -
is that the way to treat Shelley (laughs). Shelley was very popular otherwise,       particularly people from Bengal,old professors from Bengal used to come and visit us, and           grew ecstatic at the desire of the moth for the star, of the night for the morrow.... He’d go on like that until his head collided against the wall! (Burst of laughter) It's literally true! (Laughing heartily).

And what about Professor Shishir Ghosh? Was he your teacher also?
No, no, he was my student in the sixth year. But he was very intelligent. Very
well-informed. The trouble with him as a teacher, as with his brother Santosh Babu, was
that he would also finish his subject too quickly. He'd rather expand, whatever he wanted
to say, in his books, in his essays. But Santosh Babu, for example, fell short of material.                    He didn’t know how to expand; whereas we as youngsters (laughingly) would wax eloquent
and go on for hours. (Laughter)... Yes, Santosh Babu was my teacher. But Professor
Sengupta, father of D.P. Sengupta, No, he was a colleague of mine. He was in the
B.N. College. And we met in the Board of Studies meetings where I used to preside. He
was a perfect gentleman, and when I started taking ‘pan’ and temporarily gave up cigarettes
he used to say Dr. Sinha, we don’t like to see you tainted by ‘pan', we’d even like the smoke             of your cigarettes, but not this 'pan'. This is not like Oxford! (Peals of laughter
) For a little while I thought these cigarettes are getting too expensive, and
with Ram Charitra Babu in the Syndicate room one tin of ’555’ would be finished in
one day, so that I'd have to buy another tin, and so on. So I'd taken to 'pan’. But he was

the first person to object seriously to my taking ‘pan'.... This is not worthy of Oxford
You must begin to take up your cigarettes again- (Laughter, again).
Did Professor Armour also teach you?...
Yes, he was teaching Chaucer and language in our MA class. But he never
inspired us like Hill.,.
He had also written a book on the history of the English language...
Yes, a sort of textbook which was very useful for students. And 1 must have
possessed a copy of that book in the good old days...
And wasn’t Mr Batheja also there?...
Yes, Batheja was very much there, but he was in Economics, and as Principal, it
was he who gave you that beautiful view of the Ganges that we possessed at the Patna
And what about George Jacob?...
Oh, Jacob was a very nice man, a wonderful person... No, no, he was not my
teacher but he admired my lectures. When he became the Vice Chancellor, and somebody
said, Dr. Sinha comes drunk in the class-room, or something, he came one day. I was very
much in time. It was 1.30 or 1.35. The attendance was over and the steam-roller had
started! And Jacob listened for a few minutes outside and said, Damn it, what false
reports they’ve been giving me about Dr Sinha. He was giving such a wonderful lecture.
If you can’t appreciate this, then how can you appreciate English literature?... Once I
spoke to him about Kapil Muni Tiwary, who was in the Patna Science College. I wanted
him in the P.G. department, because he was the only man at that time who could teach
the linguistics portion. I had sent the proposal, but Dr Jacob sat on it. May be he didn't
know how to come to a decision. I went one day, on some other occasion, and said Dr
Jacob, I wrote a note regarding the necessary transfer of K.M. Ttwary, and do not think
I’ll forget it. I’ll not forget to insist on it, though he is a Bhumihar, I'll not forget to insist
on it that he is the only man at this present moment in Patna University who can teach
linguistics.., and the next day he was transferred (Laughs)...
That long and rambling reminiscence ends abruptly on my tape. It reminds me of
another precious talk “The rest was silence” by Walter De la Mare (published in
Sep. 56) recorded only days before he died, where the tape recorder had suddenly stopped
recording, something the interviewer found out only later, something for which no
explanation could be found, something full of the characteristic mystery that marks De
la Mare's own poetry!

*The review written by me of the appraisal of Dr R K Sinha’s book on D H Lawrence, referred to above, may be read in a later post on this blog.

© Dr BSM Murty                         Mob. +91-7752922938

Other Important blogs you may like to see:

Sahitya Samagra : 5 Oct 2010 / On Premchand: 26 May 2011 / Has Hindi been defeated by English? : Shivpujan Sahay : 7 Dec 2011 / Memoirs on Prasad and Nirala : 25-26 Oct 2012 / Shivpujan Sahay Smriti Samaroh: 27 Jan 2014 / On Amrit Lal Nagar: 18 Aug 2014 / On Bachchan : 27 Nov 2014 / On Renu: 3 Mar 2015 / On Trilochan: 1 Apr 2015 /Odes of Keats + Shantiniketan: 25 May 2015 / Premchand Patron Men: 3 Aug 2015/  Suhagraat: Dwivediji's poem: 13 Nov 2015/ Dehati Duniya: 8 Aug 2016/ Three stories of JP: 6 Jul 2016/ On Neelabh Ashk: 24 Jul 2016/ Dec 25 2016: Anupam Mishra: Paani ki Kahaani : 2017:  July 10: Doctornama: memoirs of Shivpujan Sahay    Sep 2 : Has Hindi been Defeated by English? 

Photos on this blog are courtesy – Google Images, except 2 taken by my camera © Dr BSM Murty

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Patna University Centenary Celebrations : October,1917-2017


The Patna University is celebrating its Centenary in October, 2017. Sadly enough, neither the University nor the organizers of the glorious event have cared to remember Dr Rajendra Prasad who was the person behind the establishment of Patna University. In my forthcoming biography of Dr Rajendra Prasad, THE HOUSE OF TRUTH, there are references particularly to the two great occasions which bring to our mind the close association of Dr Prasad from the inception of the University till the very last day in Dr Prasad's life. The first brief extract relates to the Lucknow session of the Congress (1916) where the resolution for the Patna University Bill was passed, and the second extract recounts the events on the very last day in Dr Prasad’s life, the day on which he was to address the Convocation function of Patna University.

Among  the delegates at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress from Bihar (December, 1916) were two eminent lawyers, Braj Kishore Prasad and Rajendra Prasad, accompanied by Pir Muhammad Moonis and Rajkumar Shukla, two representatives of the agitating indigo farmers of Champaran.

The Bihar delegates had come to the Lucknow session with two aims: they wanted the Congress to adopt two resolutions, one on the Patna University Bill and another on the question of the indigo planters of Champaran.

Both these resolutions – the first one on the Patna University Bill moved by R.P. Paranjpye of Bombay, and the second one on the Champaran indigo farmers, by Braj Kishore Prasad -  were unanimously passed at this session.

Regarding the Patna University Bill, a lot of sustained political campaigning against several objectionable provisions in the Bill had preceded its passage in the Lucknow Congress. Meanwhile, the Bill in its modified form had ultimately been passed by the Imperial Legislative Council, leading to the establishment of the University at Patna in 1917. The Bihar government, in recognition of the vital role played by Rajendra Prasad in the establishment of the Patna University, had later nominated him as a member of the new University’s Senate….


The last day in his life: 28 February, 1963
The story of the last two months in Dr Prasad’s woe-filled life of retirement in Patna remains largely under a shadow….Consistent improvement in Dr Prasad’s health continued through January and February and Dr Prasad was even planning to go out to some healthier place in the second week of March. Now feeling much better, he had also given his consent to address the Patna University convocation on 28 February. But on that very day since early morning he complained of fever and stomach upset and his condition started deteriorating rapidly.

 “He was in quite good health till 27 February evening”, writes Dr Vishwanath Prasad, one of his close associates and elder brother of Dr Raghunath Sharan, the attending physician. “He had even met some visitors that evening. He could now take short walks in the adjoining courtyard and looked fully recovered. The next afternoon, on 28 February, he was to deliver his convocation address at Patna University. The printed copies of the speech had already arrived and he intended to have a look at the printed speech the same night. When it got late, he said he could have a look at his speech early next morning. But around 4.30 in the morning on 28 February, the nurse found Dr Prasad in some discomfort with slight fever and stomach upset. Medicines were given for the stomach ailment but the fever persisted. He complained of severe headache around 10 which would not go and the restlessness grew as the day advanced. Worried about his convocation address, he wanted the Vice-Chancellor to be informed of his illness and suggested that his printed speech could be read out at the convocation, on his behalf,  by the Bihar Assembly Speaker, L.N. Sudhanshu.”
The convocation address was an impassioned appeal to the youth of Bihar, in particular, to stand unitedly against ‘the unabashed aggression by a neighbour’ as their foremost duty. He also emphasized the increased importance of a more cohesive relationship between the students and the teachers in a healthy educational system. In his view the university education system should devise a method by which the most talented among the students should be provided the best facilities for proper advancement in their careers; something that could be fostered ‘even if it means some curtailment in expansion’. Such diversification could profitably be introduced at the initial stage itself so that ‘every deserving pupil [could] go up to the highest standard while others may be diverted to other lines best suited to them’. Care should also be taken to inculcate among the students a moral and secular disposition especially in view of ‘a certain decline in the moral standards’ creeping into the mindset of our people in general. Defining the inclusive rather than exclusive nature of secularism in our country with diversities of religion, language  and culture, Dr Prasad said that true secularism is based on a conviction that all religions have ‘equal status’ and that ‘no preference is to be shown to any one of them’. At the same time, it must be remembered that ‘religion has [always] sustained morality all the world over’, and the two must go hand in hand in every way. It is with such equipment of moral and secular disposition that the modern generation of youth graduating from the universities must enter into a life of full dedication and service to the nation….

© Dr BSM Murty

All photos: courtesy Google & Rashtrapati Bhawan Photo Archives

No part of this extract can be used in any way so as to infringe pre-publication rights.


Dr BSM Murty, 302, Block-H, Celebrity Gardens, Sushant Golf City, Ansal API,     LUCKNOW : 226030  // Mob. 7752922938 / 7985017549 /  9451890020
Other extracts from the book which are available on this Blog (Scroll by year and date)
2011: May 28 : The Indigo Story; July 8: The Butcher of Amritsar; July 17: A Planter’s Murder
2014: Sep 14 : The Seven Martyrs; Dec 3 : Early childhood in Jeeradei
2015: Jun 30: Congress in disarray; Aug 27: Clash of Convictions; Oct 8: Presidential Itineraries;Dec 20: Congress at crossroads
2016:  Mar 15: Election for Second Term; May 13: Visit to Soviet Union; Aug 25: Limits of Presidency
             Aug  28 : The Last Phase
2017:  Apr 15: Champaran Saga (The Indigo Story: Repeat of 28 May 2011); 13 July: Dr Rajendra Prasad: On Kashmir Problem; 25 July: The Swearing in of Dr Rajendra Prasad

Other Important blogs

Sahitya Samagra : 5 Oct 2010 / On Premchand: 26 May 2011 / Has Hindi been defeated by English? :  Shivpujan Sahay : 7 Dec 2011 / Memoirs on Prasad and Nirala : 25-26 Oct 2012 / Shivpujan Sahay Smriti Samaroh: 27 Jan 2014 / On Amrit Lal Nagar: 18 Aug 2014 / On Bachchan : 27 Nov 2014 / On Renu: 3 Mar 2015 / On Trilochan: 1 Apr 2015 /Odes of Keats + Shantiniketan: 25 May 2015 / Premchand Patron Men: 3 Aug 2015/  Suhagraat: Dwivediji's poem: 13 Nov 2015/ Dehati Duniya: 8 Aug 2016/ Three stories of JP: 6 Jul 2016/ On Neelabh Ashk: 24 Jul 2016/ Dec 25 2016: Anupam Mishra: Paani ki Kahaani : 2017:  July 10: Doctornama: memoirs of Shivpujan Sahay    Sep 2 : Has Hindi been Defeated by English?