"Kal koi mujhko yaad kare; kyon koi mujhko yaad kare; masroof zamana mere liye kyon waqt apna barbad kare...main pal do pal ka shayar hoon", Who would have thought that these eternal lines by Sahir Ludhianvi would one day tell the bitter story of his alma mater's forgetting him.
Gulistan-e-Sahir, herbal garden created in the memory of Sahir at Satish Chandra Dhawan College is in a dismal state. Whe late Urdu poet Bhupinder Aziz Parihar, who was a lecturer at the college, laid its foundation for botanical studies, a floriculturist from Punjab Agricultural University developed Gul-e-Sahir-a special variety of flower named after Sahir.
Time passed and Gulistan-e-Sahir is now reduced to a patch of land, thick with grass, marked by a rusted sign hung on the small gate, with hardly anyone remembering the legend in his own college.
Ludhiana, the city he brought into Bollywood limelight through his popular lyrics, is guilty of killing his memory. Only his songs live on.
"Which garden? There is no garden named after Ludhianvi. There is only an auditorium," said a student, when asked about the way to the garden.
"There is shortage of water for the main grounds. How can you expect that this herbal garden, in the isolated corner of the college, will be watered properly," said the clerk, when asked about the maintenance of the garden.
The gardener on duty, on the condition of anonymity, said, "Earlier, there were 65 people to take care of the college. Now, there are only 15. More than gardening, we are engaged cleaning desks, serving guests and doing other jobs all day. When do we have the time to take care of this garden."
"The government has frozen recruitment. How can we alone manage all the things," the gardener added.
Gurminder Kaur, principal of the Government College for Women, has the additional charge of the college, as no one has been appointed to take over its reins since the retirement of the last incumbent. She says, "I don't have any information about any such garden. I have only the additional charge. You need to contact the botany department." When contacted, Prof Sarwal, professor of botany, refused to comment.
However, Davinder Singh Chahal, vice-principal of the college, said, "A special gardener has been appointed for the garden. Dr Kewal Dhir, in his 70s, creator of Sahir Cultural Academy, says, "The college exploits Sahir's name for its promotion. How can it betray a hero who was so nostalgic about his college."
The colleged library has lost Sahir's old photographs of the college days.