In The Memory Of Prof. Chadha Who Left Us On 1st March
By Ravi Nitesh
09 March, 2014
Prof. Chadha with Ms. Saeeda Diep (Chairperson, IPSS, Lahore)
"Please come, I was waiting for you only, and it is our fortune that we get a chance to host you. I think I will talk in Punjabi rather than english with you as then we will feel more happy and comfortable." Prof. G. K. Chadha said with a gesture while receiving our guest (who had come from Lahore,Pakistan) of Aman Chaupal.
It was the first and the only interaction that I had with him. We were in his university, South Asian University, in July 2013 for an event named Aman Chaupal, (an initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti for Indo-Pak friendship) and though we had not taken an appointment for a meeting with him, but he agreed to meet us the moment he got to know about it. We were in his office lounge after some time. He started talking with the guest Ms. Saeeda Diep and all of us in Punjabi. He never made us feel that we are talking in any kind of official conversation. In the conversation that went for approximately an hour, he shared many of his personal experiences and his vision.
He talked about the concept of South Asian University and its role in fostering relations and strengthening P2P (people to people) bond. He had also talked about the present situation of India and Pakistan, the educational patterns, the brain drop problem in these countries and shared some old memories. He favored educational exchanges on university level between these countries and told that how he made effort for this during his tenure as a Vice Chancellor of Jawahar Lal University when he travelled to few universities in Pakistan. He had also expressed his grief over the restricted visa issues that both countries have. We learnt that he would read Pakistani newspapers on a regular basis.
While i was certainly impressed by his intellect and thoughts, I was moved to see that he went emotional and even became tearful while narrating some incidents and memories. I was shocked to hear one of his experience that pertained to the partition time. He recalled:
'My family had migrated during the partition. I saw deaths of my own people, of my father and other relatives. They were killed by our own servants. My other relatives always had a contempt that how could our own servants kill our relatives. But frankly speaking, I could understand their anger, I know the truth was that we, as the ruling class, had exploited them."
His words remain in my mind and he got a place in my heart, though he probably did not know the fact that I was observing his words and expressions so carefully.
Professor Chaddha is no more, but his teachings and memories are still exists.
It was the morning of 1st March, when Professor Chaddha left this world. His sudden demise came as shock for many who knew him. Just last night, he was fit and fine and attended a conference with students of university.
He was working in the capacity of President of South Asian University at New Delhi. This university has students and faculties from all SAARC countries. Before joining South Asian University, Professor Chaddha was with Jawahar Lal Nehru University in the capacity of Vice Chancellor and Professor Emiretus. He was a man with great academic excellence as well as known for his down to earth thinking and behavior. He also had served as member of Prime Minister's economic advisory council of Govt of India. He was 74 years old and had completed his doctorate of research from Punjab University in economics. With his Phd at Punjab University, probably he was the only student whose thesis was specially recommended by external examiners to be published as book and on this recommendation university published the book at its own cost.
He was a man who always talked for Indo-Pak peace and had organized and participated in many discussions on the issue. He will always remain in memory of all of us who are working for Indo-pak Peace, in the memory of his students and I believe in the memory of all who ever got a chance to know him. And I believe that this memory will inspire us all to foster bonds of peace and love.
Ravi Nitesh is a Petroleum Engineer, Founder- Mission Bhartiyam, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign
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