Pygmies Stand on Toes to Appear Taller

Most of the secretaries in the government treat Vice-Chancellors rather casually.

‘Late Prof. Vishnu Kant Shastri, the then Governor of Himachal Pradesh, a Saint Chancellor – believed that the post of a Vice-Chancellor is the highest position amongst academicians. He is no way less than a state cabinet minister. Ministers and secretaries working in different departments should appreciate the fact that Vice-Chancellors are nation builders and any honour bestowed on them is like an investment for the bright future of our society.’

‘Create your own queue to stand upright amongst colleagues. In my childhood I played common street games of yesteryears – gilli-danda, kho-kho, and Pithu and then kabaddi . . It also helped in developing my teamwork and leadership qualities.’

‘Mahatma Gandhi once said, First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’

‘I was selected from the crowd of Indian scientists for a study tour to twenty-five forestry schools in Europe, US, Australia, and South-Eastern countries to gain first-hand knowledge of global forestry. I became more vocal in my plea that forestry education in universities should comprise a distinct entity. At times, I earned the ill will of friends from the forest service;.. once a conservator of Forests chopped off my wings.’

‘In order to confirm the veracity of past events, over the years I never kept a diary.I have tried to be truthful and objective with my emotions, facts, and narrative.’

‘My mother imbibed moral and ethical values in me. I saw the wisdom in my mother’s propounding the belief that ill-gotten wealth is a curse. I am a student of Karma Yoga blending compassion, service, and dedication.’

In Zoology, ridicule by a classmate named Pushpa became the turning point in his life and paved the way for him to become a topper in later degrees; ‘I owe my first position in B.Sc. (Hons.) Botany, the university gold medal, in 1961 to her’

  • Today, I rejoice in my own excitement of the ‘Gold Medal’ I won from the University of Roorkee in the post-graduation; Dr. Vishav Kirti, the woman behind me was commended PHT (Pushing the Husband Through) by the Asian African Association.
  • From a meager study seat ‘a three feet square carved out from a wall with small bricks’ the scholar has graciously risen to the Chancellor’s chair, tallest in the world of Education. ‘You are a bad subordinate but an excellent boss.’ Says Saroj, his wife.

‘I transitioned from Botany to Forestry Science after two years of Post-doctoral in Forestry from Oxford University. Our two years at Oxford were enjoyable’

  • With my son, Aseem Mahajan, a scholar from Oxford & in the Indian Foreign Service, I know how special it feels to be an Oxonian.

Forestry is no easy matter for anyone; ‘memories of night stay in those tents- days without salt and sugar, In Darjeeling, in the company of Himalayan flora and fauna are still fresh in my mind. In a ‘Near-Death’ experience; unconscious I could become prey to wild animals. I stood up, continued to move, walk, stumble and crawl in the darkness; I fought back.’

  • Preferring to be a scholar rather than a second lieutenant in the Indian army; her family giving Saroj’s hand in wedding to him over an option of a well-settled army officer; he was destined to land up in the army, but a suspect ‘Pakistani Paratrooper’. ‘The crowd started swelling. I was handed over to the local police by the army.’

‘Establishing Indian Society of Tree Scientists, as its Founding Secretary, offered me the unique opportunity to strengthen forestry education and research in the Indian university system.’

I became the first-ever Indian scientist on the IUFRO (International Union of Forestry Research Organisations) Executive Board as a nominee from Asia.

‘In 2013, I have conferred the title of an Entrepreneur at a conference of Vice-Chancellors at Bangalore.’

  • October Same year, I had the honour of interacting with the UGC Expert Committee, as a professor of Eminence at Shoolini, having much more to learn.
  • Prof. Khosla’s entrepreneurship with Ramesh Mehan’s support, and Vishal Anand’s superb specimens of construction; a telltale of a breakthrough success of the trio has shown up a unique temple of learning. The life-like, life-size statue of Gurudeva, sculpted by Sri Rahul Das makes it, yet, outstanding.

‘Today when I look at Shoolini University and its precincts with its 250 teachers, 350 staffers, and over 4000 students, I feel that the original prototype of the university was designed in the astral world. The key challenge is to reach and maintain global standards of research excellence.’ The book reads.

‘Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to formulate its Biotech Policy.’ ‘I had developed the plan to establish Himachal’s, Biotechnology Park. The project was sanctioned with a financial outlay of over thirty-eight crore rupees. Unfortunately, that proposal has not seen the light of the day even after sixteen years!’

‘From a proposal to allocate a hundred acres, in Kotla Barog near Giri River with a thinking to shift the park to Palampur and also a suggestion in favour of Baddi – at that point I left my assignment and shifted to Solan.’

‘I feel that even today HIMCOSTE is the right agency to take the Biotech Park to its logical conclusion.’

  • Miracles happen to those who believe in miracles. The book is an encyclopedia of ‘Ironies of fate into mysteries of life’. In his rip-roaring expressions, Prof Khosla aspires to clasp ‘the footprints in sands in time’ in his fist.

A story with a tinge of occultism; a blend of spiritualism and mythical Hinduism- a dash of yoga, a spice of metaphysics with a touch of reality, makes it a complete narration.
The park is gone with the wind. Let us see which way the wind blows.
‘A thought-provoking, interesting read. ’ I complimented the author on WhatsApp. …………………………………………………………………………………….
The writer is a Professor of Eminence, Electronics & Electrical Engineering, Shoolini University.
Visiting Professor, UIIT, HP University.
He honorably quit as ‘Emeritus Professor, Engineering,’ APG, University.

Prof. (Er.) Chander P Mahajan is an art critic & a free lance journalist. The Environmentalist stays in Shimla and Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, India.

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