Mathura Dass Arora (82), father of the vice-chancellor of the Punjab Technical University (PTU), Rajneesh Arora, died after prolonged illness here on Wednesday.
He is survived by wife Sumitra Devi and son, the V-C. He was cremated at Durgiana cremation grounds. Several social, academic, religious, and political personalities attended the cremation.
Born in Rajasthan's Karanpur town in 1931, Arora became a staunch Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activist in childhood and remained so till death. Arora was arrested, when he was 16, for participating in a country-wide "Satyagraha" agitation while opposing the ban imposed by the central government on the RSS after the assassination of Mahatama Gandhi. He was jailed for five months.
Arora completed his MA from Jalandhar's DAV College followed by a Bachelors in Teachers Training from Muradabad College.
To produce qualified human resource for the country's development, Arora aimed to pursue teaching. He shifted his base to Amritsar in 1961 after being appointed as a teacher at DAV Senior Secondary School, Hathi Gate, Amritsar.
As secretary of the Punjab Government Aided School Teachers Union, he spearheaded an agitation against the state government, for better pay, in 1967. Though he remained underground, his wife Sumitra Devi, also a teacher, was arrested and jailed. Finally, the government accepted his demand.
He was known for strongly opposing the emergency imposed in the country by the then Indira Gandhi government. He motivated his sons, Rajneesh, a first year B Tech student at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and Avnish, a class 10 student, to court arrest against emergency. Rajneesh was lodged in Tihar jail, while Avnish remained in Amritsar jail.
During the days of terrorism from 1984 to 1992, Arora worked hard to promote communal harmony and arranging relief and rehabilitation measures for terror victims under the banner of Rashtriya Suraksha Samiti and Peerat Sahayata Samiti.
As soon as son Rajneesh completed engineering studies, Arora made him join as RSS 'parcharak' in Delhi in 1979.