Time and again we have seen in the human history that great ideas, great institutions, and even great revolutions take place with the collective thoughts and efforts from the leaders of the then societies to pursue a common purpose.
Bengal Renaissance is such a phenomenon that came to a pinnacle at the turn of the 19th Century during the partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon. The British is-Calcutta tried to spread western educational thoughts among the elite in India by creating in the words of Lord Macaulcay, "a class of Indians who would be Indian in blood and colour but western in thought and ideas".
While the Nationalists enthusiastically chose the alternate system of education for the middle class of Bengal, they ridiculed the British Education system as "Goldighir Ghulamkhana" or the slave house of Goldighi, with reference to the lake adjacent to Calcutta University. Fortunately, large numbers of luminaries of that period assembled in Calcutta and about 1500 delegates including Rabindranath Tagore, Aurobindo Ghosh, Raja Subodh Chandra Mullick and Brajendra Kishore Roychowdhury and the idea of the National Council of education was mooted in November 19, 1905. The institute was created and Rashbihari Ghosh was appointed as the first president of the institute. Later on in July 25, 1906, the Bengal Technical Institute was created under the stewardship of Taraknath Palit. Even though the partition of Bengal was the trigger point, there was a pent up need to unleash the cultural and entrepreneurial spirits existed from the beginning of Renaissance of Bengal.
Hardly any University of India had the fortune to be blessed by active participations of so many luminaries immediately after the Independence of India after 1947 when the National Council of Education was elevated to the status of the University in 1955 under the leadership of Dr. T. Sen. This is a short prelude for the University but it's unique result of fulfillment of efforts by the multitudes of great minds and the historic thrust continues to propel this National Institute to a present day top tier position.
Our emblem correctly portrays our ideas, mission, and vision by three flamed lamps encircled by lotus petals one hand symbolizing our training, cultivation of imagination, and spiritual development.
Often time, we pride ourselves that we are not materialistically as smart as our counterparts from known institutes but we are unique in our soft approach and refined executions. I had the fortune to work with our Chancellor Dr. T. Sen during my final years as the President of the Boarders' Union. He used to quip that our alumni association is not brittle. We are like aluminum strands, we bend but we don't break. His word stuck in my mind all along. In the early 70's a large number of our alumni emmigrated like Indians from many different states to USA. We crossed the Seven Seas somewhat with anxiety for unknown and unsure for the future and with excitement for the new continent. It was like migrating to Jhumpapa Lahiri's "the third and the final continent". Most of us entered this country through NY and dispersed throughout North East States. A significant number finally migrated to the Washington, D.C. area and settled at the North and South side of the Potomac River. Many of us had family and some of us were single and we use to meet during Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja with the intense desire to discover somebody connected to Jadavpur University. We found a good number of us from Jadavpur University and we naturally felt attracted due to our common bond and culture that we shared while in our Alma mater.
In the summer of 1985, we formed the Jadavpur Alumni Association in the presence of Dr. Sushil Das Gupta. This function was full of spontaneity and exuberance we felt that we created a large family of our own away from our home. Our Alumni started taking leading roles in cultural and social activities, at the same time maintaining an amicable relationship with other Indian immigrants and ethnic societies in this continent.
Each year Jadavpur University Alumni Association is celebrating two functions: a summer picnic and Bijoya Sammellan and at times we came up with a newsletter highlighting local and home campus news.
Like any organization, Jadavpur University Alumni Association has gone through some ups and downs due to leadership changes, meanwhile we celebrated Platinum Jubilee of our university. Many of our alumni have become cultural entrepreneurs and gave excellent leadership in Banga Sammellan in major cities on the East Coast.
The lamps in the lotus, glow with eternal purity in the core of petals and it will have some flickers as we face some bumps along the way but will never extinguish.
We need to encourage our young alumni to join and share our vision and aspiration on how we can build a family of many with attitude to help each other especially at the context of our aging. I'm very sure most of us have overcome the basic need of life through grace of God due to education that we received from our Alma mater.
Hope we can return a part of the bounty back to our home campus and a part to our aging alumni in the spirit of 3 flamed lamps in the lotus petals.