Despite the challenges that came with the Partition of India in 1947, a group of professors from DJ Sind College, Karachi, who’d taken refuge in Bombay, decided not to let their knowledge go to waste. Recounting their struggle, a newly released book, I Will & I Can by author Nandita Bhavnani, looks into the making of the reputed Jai Hind College at Churchgate.
“The history of the college is a very inspiring story. Within four months of moving to Bombay, the professors has set up a new college in the premises of Elphinstone College, where classes were held in parallel shifts. After that, the college moved to a rented property on Peddar Road, before finally being able to permanently settle at this present location in 1948,” says Bhavnani.
The title of the book is borrowed from the college motto. “It sums up the essence of this institution. My parents studied at Jai Hind College. And even though I didn’t study there, I’ve always been fascinated by how the college made a difference in the lives of young students like my parents, mostly refugees from the Sindhi community, ” says the author, who is also a researcher on Sindhi history and culture.
It took Bhavnani around a year to finish writing the book and another eight to 10 months to collect old photographs and work on designing the book. “The memoirs of the founding professors helped me a lot in researching my project,” says Bhavnani, adding, “I had initially planned to write an essay on the evolution of the college, but it finally materialised into a book.”