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Carrying Gandhi’s torch

Janki Devi Memorial College is not on the South or North Campus, but still churns out university toppers, and promotes culture and green practices Vimal Chander Joshi reports

education Updated: Jan 13, 2010 09:24 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Shweta Gupta is a topper of Delhi University in BCom honours.

She did not go to SRCC or Hans Raj — the ‘flagship’ colleges for commerce under DU — but was a student of Janki Devi Memorial College (JDMC). Gupta is not a one-off case — she is one of the five DU rank holders from this college in 2009, including two in mathematics and one each in Hindi and political science departments.

Students owe these striking results to the dedicated teachers of JDMC. “I’m doing CA (chartered accountancy), and several topics in CA, especially in cost accountancy, were taught at the college.

That’s why I was regular with my classes, which is unusual for CA students in other colleges. My friends in other colleges used to borrow my notes. I managed to top the university only because of my teachers,” says Gupta.

Sujata Das, who graduated in BA (political science) this year, had joined the college as it was close to her Rajinder Nagar house. So did many other students, choosing ‘geography’ over other factors. Its proximity to the Karol Bagh Metro station makes it readily accessible.

But not all JDMC-ites come from the nearby areas. “I have many friends in the college who come from far-off places, too, including Rohini and Dwarka,” says Pooja Pawar, a final-year student of BA (English) whose sister is also a JDMC alumna.

Famous for: Its Gandhian philosophy. The founder of JDMC, BK Chandiwala, was a Gandhian. To carry forward the legacy, the college is set to begin a Gandhi Study Centre on January 30 (Martyrs’ Day) next year. Programmes: BA (Hons) in economics, English, Hindi, history, maths, philosophy, political science, Sanskrit and sociology, BA (programme), BCom (Hons/pass), MA and MCom.

Extra-curricular activities: The college takes a lot of interest in environment-related activities and was also awarded the Chief Minister’s award for its initiative in rainwater harvesting. The eco-society (Avani) has done its bit for saving the environment through recycling, composting and solar energy conservation.

Its cultural festival, Symphony, was celebrated in the first week of December. It also has active clubs like a dramatics club (Anoobhuti), a debating club and a music and dance club. The debating society organises the Nandita Rajguru Memorial Debate, a popular inter-college event.

Infrastructure: The college has ramps and screen-reading software in the library for visually impaired students, who are also given rechargeable cells, audio recorders etc to record the lessons. An open-air auditorium can seat more than 2,000 people.

Manicured lawns on the college premises are adorned with a range of beautiful plants and flowers.

The library has a collection of more than 1 lakh books and 82 national and international journals catering to the different courses.

Found on campus: “The college focuses on academic and extra-curricular activities simultaneously. Its strong culture instils discipline in students. You won’t find any other college that has an assembly, as in schools,” says Sakshi Gujral, a final-year student of BA (English). “Here, we assemble every Wednesday (where cultural societies and the NSS look for students keen to join them and auditions are also held).”

“The canteen should improve. The only good thing you get there is chhole-bature. We could do with some non-veg food, too,” says Ankita Khanna, a first-year student of BA (political science)

JDMC was set up in 1959 by BK Chandiwala in memory of his mother Janki Devi as a higher study platform for girls. The present principal, Dr Indu Anand, has been a Fulbright scholar and has also got the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award