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Stephen’s ministers

delhi Updated: May 31, 2009 00:37 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Here’s another reason why the name spells success and pride for so many.

Five ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s new Cabinet have studied in St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University’s oldest place of learning.

Starting from senior members like Virbhadra Singh, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid to the comparatively younger ones like Shashi Tharoor and Sachin Pilot, all of them have been part of the institute established in 1881.

One way or the other, all of them believe, the 128-year-old Stephen’s has played an important role in who they are and what they have achieved.

Kapil Sibal, who did his graduation and post graduation in History from the institution and passed out in 1969, recalls fondly, “It was a very significant milestone in our journey of life. I stayed in the hostel and learnt to live and share together. That's the time when I made lots of friends.”

Even the teachers who taught them at St Stephen's fondly recollect those days.

“I still cannot forget how Virbhadra Singh, despite his royal lineage, stood in a queue to collect the college prospectus,” said Mohammad Amin, who taught History in the college for 44 years.

It was in the 50s Virbhadra Singh learnt his History lessons from Amin.

About Sibal, Professor Amin says, “Not only was he a good student, he was also quite active on the theatre scene. I remember watching him play a part in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Ionesco's Rhinoceros. He was excellent.”

Salman Khurshid and Shashi Tharoor are remembered as toppers of their respective batches.

“Khurshid had already authored a small novel before he joined college and Tharoor was one of those bright students who got a direct admission in PhD and finished it in four years flat,” he said.

Dr Ashish Roy, HoD English, talked of Sachin Pilot as a fun-loving chap. “He was very popular amongst his classmates and a very regular student. He had political connections, but it never showed,” he said.

The current principal credits his predecessors for the honours the college has earned over so many years.

“It’s matter of great pride for the institution,” says Principal Revd. Valsan Thampu. “But the entire credit goes to my predecessors; the fine crop that we now see is a result of that vision.”