I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Roorkee (now an IIT) in the year 1970. This university celebrates the silver jubilee of all its students twenty-five years after they graduate. Thus our batch’s silver jubilee was celebrated in November 1995. I was looking forward to this day with enthusiasm and also made efforts to ensure that many colleagues attended. As a result, as many as one hundred and forty-three colleagues turned up. The celebration went on for the whole day and we had a wonderful time. We recollected our old memories, forgetting our present positions and behaved with each other like we did in our university days.
The University of Roorkee is an old institution with great traditions. Its alumni are generally very close and celebrations like these are held without exception. In addition to the silver jubilee, there is a tradition of celebrating a golden jubilee after fifty years and a diamond jubilee after sixty years of graduation. All these celebrations are held simultaneously. At the time of our silver jubilee, there were twenty-four participants for the golden jubilee and four for the diamond jubilee. It was a pleasure to
listen to their accounts of myriad experiences. All of them mentioned the traditions of the university, even though they had faded with time. I joined the university in 1966 at an early age after passing
the first year of my B.Sc. I had been a good student and had topped in the entrance examination. Till today, this event remains the most pleasant surprise of my life. I came from a semi-rural background with little exposure beyond my class and family. Therefore, joining the University of Roorkee as a topper was something for which I was not exactly prepared.
This university had a tradition of giving prominence to the topper, usually called ‘senior’ and he or she attracted the attention of all. I was no exception and became the victim of extra ragging as a result.
Fortunately, form of ragging in those days was healthy and it helped the new entrants to shed their inhibitions. I was not very studious and coped with my studies in a relaxed, natural way. I also participated in games and other activities. Fortunately, I maintained my first position through and stood first at the final examinations. I was also declared the best all-rounder of the university and got the Chancellor's gold medal for that achievement. In all, I got nine medals and awards. Subsequently, I joined the IAS and was allotted the U.P. cadre. I was liked by most of my colleagues and they felt proud of my achievement. I noticed this during the silver jubilee celebration too. Twenty-five years is a long period in one’s life and that too, after graduation. This is the period when we have maximum interaction with the world which shapes our personality in the true sense. Close contact with colleagues is possible only rarely and most of us remember only some of their traits. This is true of everyone and one need not be upset if one's personality is not correctly understood by others. This is more so in the case of those who look at life deeply and develop their personalities beyond body and mind. Incidentally, I am one of them and, therefore, try to see a deeper meaning in every interaction. The silver jubilee celebration was no exception and I drew two positive messages from this celebration.
The first is from the fact that even after twenty-five years, my colleagues had great regard for my maintaining the first position throughout my university stay. This fact was proudly mentioned by them whenever I was introduced to anyone. I feel that it is true for all those who maintain their positions, in whatever field they are. Be it in the field of business or any other profession, those who maintain high standards throughout are revered by all, notwithstanding professional rivalries. Of course, the additional requirement is that such positions should be maintained by fair and natural means. Those who keep on shifting their positions are hardly respected. In other words, it is the stability which gives a shining quality to one’s personality and this is respected by others.