Words of wisdom: ‘Being disciplined helps students shape up well later in life’
Sneh Mahajan is a stickler for discipline. At 79, she is content that students who may not have appreciated the strictness at Mehr Chand Mahajan (MCM) DAV College for Women, Sector 36, Chandigarh, which she headed from 1986 to 2000, have shaped up well in life.
“They now realise it was for their good. I’m proud of the MCM alumnae across the world, excelling in fields of their interest. The value of discipline, which is the most important to imbibe, unites them,” she says with a smile that is true to her name.
Inspired by the man after whom the college is named, her father Mehr Chand Mahajan, the third Chief Justice of India and a prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir in the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh, she says, “I joined as a lecturer of philosophy in 1968 and became principal in 1986. I wanted this college to be a tribute to him, and he was a disciplinarian.”
Obstacles make us stronger
Life does not always unfold as planned. The best course to overcoming odds is to accept them as God’s will, reconcile with circumstances and rebuild life. “I lost my husband DG Gupta, an Indian Revenue Service officer, to a kidney ailment in 1963, two years after our wedding. I was carrying our second son at that time. It took me years to come to terms with the loss. I moved in with my parents, who were in Delhi, and pursued post-graduation in philosophy at Lady Shri Ram College for Women. I passed out in 1967 and began teaching part-time,” she says.
Following her father’s death due to a heart attack at a Syndicate meeting in Panjab University, which he was instrumental in setting up in Chandigarh, Sneh Mahajan was contacted by the DAV Management Committee to join as a lecturer at MCMDAV College. “My father believed a woman should bring up children at home because no one else can impart values to a child as a mother can. Life willed otherwise and I came here, leaving my sons in my mother’s care in Delhi. By 1970, I settled down here and the boys joined me.”
“When things don’t work out as planned, never give up. Sit back and introspect. Identify your dream, equip yourself and consistently work towards achieving it. Rebuilding life takes focus and willpower. It may look difficult at the start but help will come along the way in terms of bank loans and family support,” she says.
The college she once headed is one of the best in Chandigarh, which has emerged as an educational hub like Pune. “There is opportunity here. It is up to the student to excel. The only concern is they head abroad instead of serving the nation.”
Chandigarh is crumbling
Having lived in Chandigarh for five decades, she says City Beautiful is crumbling. “It has lost its charm. The ideals on which Le Corbusier founded it have been eroded. The mess is due to politics, official apathy and unplanned growth. The city does not need a municipal corporation that has become more of a parking place for bickering politicians and their relatives. Where are representatives of doctors, teachers and other professionals in our elected body? The city should revert to the chief commissioner system, where the incumbent works for five years and is accountable unlike bureaucrats on deputation from the Centre who avoid taking firm decisions,” says Mahajan.
“The migrant population has led to the slumming of the city and created a law and order problem besides putting a strain on resources. Our politicians either put their family interest before the city’s or are disconnected from ground reality. Things have changed faster than they could keep pace with,” she says.