PU global alumni meet: Once lived like a refugee, says CEC Arora

Published on Nov 29, 2019 01:41 AM IST
An IAS officer from the 1980 batch from the Rajasthan cadre, Arora did his postgraduation in English from the PU-affiliated Government College, Hoshiarpur, in 1976.
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora at Hostel No. 1 on the PU campus, where he stayed in 1979.(HT PHOTO)
Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora at Hostel No. 1 on the PU campus, where he stayed in 1979.(HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByHT Correspondent, Chandigarh

It was a moment of sheer nostalgia as chief election commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Wednesday walked down memory lane and into Panjab University (PU) Boys Hostel Number-One (BH-1). A brief stay here in 1979 with his brother and friends to study for the civil services examination made him feel “like a refugee,” as he did not have permissions to stay here.

Addressing a gathering at the Panjab University Global Alumni Meet on Wednesday, an emotional Arora said it almost felt like a pilgrimage to visit the university.

An IAS officer from the 1980 batch from the Rajasthan cadre, Arora did his postgraduation in English from the PU-affiliated Government College, Hoshiarpur, in 1976.

On why the institute was so important, he said,“My father, mother, uncles and brother were also part of the university and studied here or its affiliated colleges.”

‘PU helped me crack IAS’

It wasn’t easy “When PU officials wanted to know where I lived, I didn’t know what to say as I lived with my brother and friends in BH-1 and 2 and prepared for the IAS exam which I later cracked,” he said.

The visit to the hostel, he said, took him back to his student days. About the hostel food, he said, “we used to wait for the day when rajma chawal was served. Otherwise, we used to venture outside and get bread-omelette from the PGI campus.”

His favourite place on campus? “The student centre and the English department.”

Arora also inaugurated the wall of alumni in the common room of BH-1 on the occasion. It has portraits of distinguished ex-residents, including late Captain Vikram Batra (martyr), Naunihal Singh (inspector general of police, Punjab), Lt Vikas Kundu (Indian Army), Pawan Kumar (crime branch, Chandigarh Police) and Malwinder Kang (BJP spokesperson, Punjab).

He also visited the residence of the former principal of Government College, Hoshiarpur, RS Bawa, who taught his elder brother and brother-in -law.

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