Vellarada S. Viswanathan still misses his campus days at Mar Ivanios College and Government Law College
My campus days weren’t extraordinary, but yes, the two colleges where I studied – Mar Ivanios College and Government Law College, played important roles in moulding my character and career.
For me, getting admission to Mar Ivanios for my pre-University course and later for the three-year degree course was a big achievement in itself. It was a friend who suggested that I should study in that college. Fr. Francis Kalacherry was the principal when I joined the college in 1958. A pious, gentle and efficient individual, Fr. Kalacherry was an inspiring figure. Our bursar was Fr. George who was in charge of the hostel where I stayed during my student days.
Therefore my memories about the college days are connected to this hostel. We were expected to stick to a set of rules. The discipline was never imposed and we fell into the groove automatically. An order set into my life. Following a timetable helped me immensely in my studies. Above all, I studied at a time when there were some brilliant students in my class and hostel. Their perseverance and hard work inspired me. Some of them would be seen sitting on the rocks and open space on the sprawling campus to study and would return to the hostel only when it was dusk.
I was in the NCC while in college and have taken part in a few camps. Also, during weekends we used to go on trips from the hostel, to places such as Ponmudi, Thekkady, Kuttalam. I must also add that we were a boys’ only batch then.
I had taken Botany for my degree course, for I wanted to become a doctor. But things changed after I happened to be on the Government Law College campus which became a regular hangout for me and my friends while at Mar Ivanios. Gradually, I fell in love with the campus and decided that I would become a lawyer.
While I spent four years on Mar Ivanios campus, I studied at the Law College campus for only two years because then we had a two-year law course – named FL (First year in Law) and BL (Bachelor in Law). Naturally, I am more attached to Mar Ivanios. However, the time spent at the Law College and the teachers who taught me still remain close to my heart.
We had Neyyattinkara Sreekantan Nair, an expert on Indian Constitution, Madhavan Nair sir, a wonderful teacher who left us all awe-struck with his teaching, and K. S. Rajamoni, who was a lawyer and an expert on evidence act and the Indian Penal Code. The college had an excellent library, with efficient staff. There was a guidance wing as well and those who really wanted to study had all the facilities. The course structure and syllabus have changed now and I think the current students have got a lot to study.
There were two main halls in the college, one for FL students and the other for BL students. Nearly 150 students were in a batch. In spite of the huge number, we all knew each other.
I enrolled as an advocate in 1966 and worked with K. Sudhakaran, who was former advocate general initially. I served as government pleader (arbitration) for some time. I continue working as a lawyer rather than opting for other posts because I enjoy my work. Sometimes I long for my campus life, especially the one at Mar Ivanios.
(As told to ATHIRA M.)
(A column to commemorate the platinum jubilee of the University of Kerala. Eminent teachers and people from different walks of life talk about their days in various colleges under the University.)