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PAU's retired professor's work lends historic touch to poetry

punjab Updated: Dec 18, 2013 19:02 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times
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What makes PAU's alumni meet different from other reputed educational institutes is the effort put in by retired PAU professor Gurdev Singh Dhillon, who translated and published the lighter moments shared by the alumnus of Pakistan and India together, by publishing two books named 'Alumni Nazma' in Punjabi language.

Organising alumni meet every year is a routine affair at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) where in Agricultural University of Faislabad (AUF) in Pakistan also participates every year.

These books carry moments shared in the 'Nazam' session, in which the alumnus from Pakistan and India recite poetry.

As per information provided by Sandhu, the idea of noting down 'Nazams' in AUF was started by Haifz Abdul Qyum, a retired head of department of entomology from AUF who also has the record of all the famous 'nazams' cited in the alumni meet of the AUF in which representatives from PAU were also present.

In PAU, this work was penned down by Jeeta Ram Bhamota, a retired head of the horticulture department, ever since the agricultural college was set-up in Ludhiana in 1949. Bhamota recorded these 'nazams' in Urdu till 1994 until he died.

Sandhu took up the task of translating works of writers in Punjabi and published them in the form of a book named 'Alumni Nazma'. He even spent money from his own pocket to get the book published.
“I really enjoyed the work and feel satisfied for completing the task,” said Sandhu, a 1959 batch alumnus.

Notably, there is a reason behind inviting guests from the UAF in the PAU alumni meet and vice-versa every year.

Both PAU and the UAF were the only colleges for agricultural studies in joint Punjab before partition.
When India and Pakistan were divided, in 1949, the agricultural college for India's Punjab was set up in Ludhiana (it remained in Amritsar from 1947-49) and was eventually made the university in 1962.
Notably, 'Nazam' session in the meet continues to be the most sought after segment ever since the first alumni meet.

“I worked overnights for around two years to pen it down, it was my desire to get it published,” Sandhu said.

As per Sandhu, the work for compiling 'Nazams' was started in 1920, by a librarian named Nazeer Ali Beg Mirza, a Lucknow native, in Agricultural College Faislabad. He started penning down the 'Nazams' up till 1944 but record of these 'Nazams' remained with him and was never found again.

Since 1981, every alternate year, alumni of both the varsities visit each other to attend the meet that was originally named as Old Boys Association (OBA). This year's meet will be held in PAU on December 23-24.