NEW DELHI: Several educationists, including members of the Sikh community, on Monday opposed the proposal to change the name of Dyal Singh (Evening) College to Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya. At a meeting chaired by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar and attended by BJP legislator Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the group passed a resolution to seek the Centre’s intervention to keep the college name unchanged after the 19th century social activist Dyal Singh Majithia.
“We are not talking about the trust or its ownership. We are neither trustees nor do we claim to be his (Dyal Singh’s) heir,” Mr. Sirsa told reporters here.
“It’s the matter of national pride. Dyal Singh College, Punjab National Bank, Tribune newspaper are the legacy of Dayal Singhji… The name of the college cannot be changed at any cost. There is no reason to change the name.”
He said another meeting will be called soon to decide the next course of action. He added that they will make sure the issue was not given communal colour.
Mr. Nayar said the move to change the name to “Vande Mataram” was not without a design and that it was a very “serious matter”. He, however, advised the attendees to explore all options of dialogue rather than resorting to rash talk or action.
The governing body of the college had announced on November 18 that Dyal Singh College (Evening) will be called Vande Mataram Mahavidyalaya.
The decision entailed having two morning colleges as there is already a Dyal Singh College (Morning) in operation.
The President of the Dyal Singh College Teachers Association opposed the decision of morning college as well, saying the premises were too cramped to house two colleges.
“Originally the building was supposed to support only 1,000 students but now there are 6,000. Now with the Evening college turning into Morning, this will go up to 12,000… The decision is going to affect us all,” said Professor P.K. Parihar.
Built on the estate of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, the college was first started in Lahore in 1910 and is called after its founder. The one in Delhi was built in 1959.