Today being a late riser I somehow managed to flag off the colourful rally to mark the completion of 75 years of our Maharaja Bir Bikram College (its Platinum Jubilee) I could feel the enthusiasm of the alumni, teachers and students, that took me back to my college days. I remember how I pestered my mother to send me to Delhi to do my graduation, as most of my school friends from Darjeeling were there. My mother was a very obstinate person all she said was, “ Why not here in MBB College? It’s affiliated to the Calcutta University and your degree will be from there. Besides it’s time you got to know your own state since you have been to a very westernised public school and grew up in their hostel since you were 4 1/2 years old.” I somehow knew further persuasion was of no use.
After a few days I joined the college, taking up English Honours and Political Science ; chucked up science as a sign of revolt but there was no reaction from the other side. As days passed I never regretted joining this college, it was an experience by itself. We came across teachers par excellence to name a few, Professor Kaviraj, who taught us Shakespeare; I am yet to hear such lectures on Macbeth that he gave, Professor Bamapada Mukherjee’s “Saint Joan “ by Bernard Shaw still comes to my mind.
We had Saroj Chaudhuri sir, who taught us language, he was so happy when I scored the highest in the university in his paper that he kept repeating it at every function we attended together; making me embarrassed because it was his credit entirely for ensuring that I attended his classes, he passed away recently. There was Prabhas Dhar sir, who meticulously taught us Milton.
Besides academics we sat in the canteen and split one cup of tea into two and talked endlessly on subjects ranging from politics, sports to music. Sang the latest film songs drumming on the table. When our pocket money ran out, we shifted to the gallery in the college field and carried out our noisy discussions. It was the time of churning or what we call manthan of our desires and dreams.
I still remember that in golden Jubilee celebration of the college 25 years back, I was invited to take part in a debate along with former chief ministers Sri Manik Sarkar and Late Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar. It was great fun since we were from the same college but following very different ideologies. This was a clear indication that our college was the breeding ground for diverse thoughts and ideologies – a truly democratic institution.
Most of us felt that we could change many things around us but many of us stood changed by the harsh realities of the world that we knew not much about. But all said and done that process of learning inside the classroom and churning in the canteen or the gallery along with life experience, has made us what we are today. It was indeed “A Dream College” as labelled by the former Principal Late J.K. Chowdhury, who had come from Cambridge. Indeed we laughed, sang, fought, argued, bunked classes, indulged in pranks but we dreamt different dreams while being together.