‘DU encourages students to think on their own and take risks’

Alumni recollect their days at the university and how it shaped them

September 28, 2022 01:05 am | Updated 01:05 am IST

(From Left) Lakshmi Puri, Hardeep Puri, Dinesh Singh, Namita Gokhle and Imtiaz Ali at the book launch at Hindu College in Delhi on Tuesday.

(From Left) Lakshmi Puri, Hardeep Puri, Dinesh Singh, Namita Gokhle and Imtiaz Ali at the book launch at Hindu College in Delhi on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

“A great institution is defined by its students and this book encapsulates the lives and memories of some of the students from diverse fields who have done remarkably well,” said Union Minister Hardeep Puri at the launch of the book, Delhi University - Celebrating 100 Glorious Years, on Tuesday.

The anthology with a foreword by Amitabh Bachchan and edited by Mr. Puri has the authors reminisce about their days spent at the university and its contribution towards moulding them.

Mr. Puri moderated a discussion after the launch of the book at Hindu College. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali said that an important soft power that Delhi University imparts is “irreverence” at it encourages students to think on their own and take risks.

“When you enter the university, there is a sense of protest and shedding off your old beliefs. It could be a political view, a world view or an opinion that is shed and you start to rebel. This irreverence becomes a power as it teaches you to have a head of your own on your shoulders and that it is respectable to differ with someone and still be friends,” Mr. Ali said.

Talking about the evolution of the university, former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Diesh Singh, said that there is something in the aura of the university that is binding and it has over the years attracted several talents from across the country. “India resides in the university and the university resides in India. I don’t see any distinction,” Mr. Singh said.

The others who participated in the discussion were writer Namita Gokhale, founder and managing partner of a law firm Raian Karanjawala and former assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations Lakshmi Puri who shared anecdotes of their time spent at the university and how it set them up for life.

Ms. Puri said that DU is a great mix of all classes, region and creed and encompasses the idea of India which is unity in diversity. “I carried forward this diversity which I had experienced personally in my career as a diplomat when representing India abroad,” Ms. Puri said.

Responding to a question from the audience on what was the way forward for the university, Mr. Singh said that the university must aim to break into the top 100 universities in the world and the way to do that is to follow the National Education Policy which is “near verbatim” based on what Delhi University did during his tenure in 2013-14.

“We had begun to knock on the doors of the top 200 universities, however, we received some setbacks. The university needs to take it up as a challenge to implement the NEP and we will soon be in the top 100,” Mr. Singh said.

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