A favourite student, Maneka Gandhi launches teacher’s book

  • Nirupama Dutt, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 06, 2015 15:36 IST

She came in the nick of time not as a union minister but as a student who still holds her school teacher in great regard. The occasion was the launch of ‘Janamsakhis: Ageless Stories, Timeless Values’ by the late educationist Harish Dhillon in Chandigarh on Monday.

This was union minister Maneka Gandhi who kept her promise of releasing the book even though it happened over a month after Dhillon’s demise. Speaking straight from the heart, she said, “I had promised to release the book and some months ago we had decided to do the book launch in Delhi. But that was not to be.” She fondly remembered him as the English language and literature teacher in the Lawrence School, Sanawar, and when she was in the batch of 1972 he had given her even marks out of ten for an essay that she had written.

In one of his middles called ‘My batch of 1972’, he had mentioned Maneka by name while relating one of her schoolgirl pranks and of the class in totality he had written: “On and on the names and memories come, tumbling over each other and I know why they were so very special, my batch of 1972. I learnt much more from them than they learnt from me. They helped me evolve from a university lecturer to a successful school master and, in the process, become a better human being.”

Dhillon was an esteemed educationist who was later principal of the Yadavindra Public School at Mohali. He was also a prolific writer with many books to his credit and a special talent for writing middles in his gentle prose. In the present book he has retold some of the stories from the life of Guru Nanak Dev. The book has on its cover a painting of Arpana Cour portraying the journey of the Guru along with his companions, Bala and Mardana.

Justice SS Sodhi also paid tributes to Dhillon who he said was a very handsome man who had overcome many setbacks in life to become a source of inspiration. The function was held by Dhillon’s sister, Yogindra Singh, to fulfil the last wish of his brother and convened by his student Manmeet.

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