Dyal Singh College holds prize distribution function in changed name

After Dyal Singh College controversially held its prize distribution function under a banner of ‘Vandemataram Dyal Singh College’, the HRD Minister re-affirmed that the college’s name won’t be changed

NH Photo by Pramod Pushkarna
NH Photo by Pramod Pushkarna
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Vikrant Jha

As the news of Dyal Singh College (evening) holding its annual prize distribution in the name of ‘Vandemataram Dyal Singh College’ broke out and the Sikh community severely criticised the move, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday reassured that “the name of Dyal Singh College will not be changed neither will any permission be given for name change”.

“The efforts in this direction by management committee (of the college) will invite strict action,” news agency ANI quoted Javadekar as saying.


Javadekar had assured Parliament and the Sikh community last year as well that the name of Dyal Singh college will not be changed. Yet the annual prize distribution was carried out under ‘Vandemataram Dyal Singh College’.

The principal of the college too denied that the college’s name had been changed, but expressed a wish that the University changes it soon.

Political parties in Punjab, cutting across ideological lines, in one voice condemned the move. “Nobody can change the name of the college. The Sikh community is not happy with the way the governing body chairman has conspired to change the name of the college,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, national spokesperson of Shiromani Akali Dal, told National Herald.

Punjab Congress spokesperson Rajpal Singh too lashed out at the BJP over the issue, saying “Minority rights are being diminished under the NDA government. They are being suppressed. Dyal Singh Majithia did a lot for education and the country. The social fabric of the country is being destroyed. The college renaming is an anti-national step.”

Ironically, there has been no discussion in Pakistan about changing the name of Dyal Singh College, which was established in Lahore in 1910. But in India, the issue remains in the forefront since last year.

“The main agenda is to keep people (students and teachers) busy with these issues—like the change in name, or the issue graded autonomy—so that they do not raise their voice against the deteriorating quality of teaching staffs and the education system as a whole,” a well-known professor from Delhi University told NH on condition of anonymity.

“Nobody can change the name of [Dyal Singh] college. The Sikh community is not happy with the way the governing body chairman has conspired to change the name of the college,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, national spokesperson of Shiromani Akali Dal, told National Herald

Picture courtesy: Social media
Picture courtesy: Social media
The annual prize distribution held on April 25 in the name of Vandemataram Dyal Singh College

Noted retired JNU professor Chaman Lal argues that it is done to send a stern message to all the universities to fall in line. “We give a damn for public opinion and their wishes is the message that this government is trying to send out,” Chaman Lal told National Herald.

“Education is a primary source of changing people’s mind, so the government is targeting all the universities and colleges alike,” Lal told NH. “The academic posts are being filled by appointing illiterate minds and even to deliver key lectures, people of the RSS are being invited in many colleges in Delhi University,” he added.

Their claims are vindicated by the principal of Dyal Singh College (morning), Dr IS Bakshi, who told NH, “When NAAC accredited us as a Grade A college last year, they still said that there was a need for improvement in the infrastructure. There are two colleges—Dyal Singh College (morning) and Dyal Singh College (evening)—in the land of some 11 acres. Because of the lack of infrastructure, both the colleges suffer. Instead of changing the name of the college, there should be decision to move the evening college outside this campus and allot them other land. This way, there will be no issues for anyone with whatever name they choose as well.”

“When the college became a part of the Delhi University in 1978, there was a condition the Union government had then accepted that the name of the college will remain the same as it is seen as the legacy of Dyal Singh Majithia. Then how does the question of changing the name even arise,” he asked.


Punjab Congress spokesperson Rajpal Singh too lashed out at the BJP over the issue. “Minority rights are being diminished under the NDA government. They are being suppressed. Dyal Singh Majithia did a lot for education and the country. The social fabric of the country is being destroyed. The college renaming is an anti-national step”

Since last year, when the evening college started functioning as the day college, Bakshi further argues, the problems have only mounted and the students of both the colleges are suffering. “According to NIRF rating, we were ranked eighth best college in the country in 2017. In a period of just one year, we have gone down to the 25th position.” The HRD ministry, UGC and the Delhi University, Bakshi hopes, will look into the matter.

The principal of Dyal Singh College (evening), however, reiterates the HRD Minister’s claims and argues that the name has not been changed and ‘it was the students who had used the name unofficially for the programme held on April 25’. He, nevertheless, argues that a change in name is a necessity because Dyal Singh College (evening) is no longer an evening college and there is already one day college in the name of Dyal Singh college and there cannot be two colleges in the same name.

Talking to NH, Dr Pawan Kumar Sharma said, “the name of the institution still remains the same and only for a function, the students decided to prefix ‘Vandemataram’.” He, however, hopes that Delhi University soon decides on a new name for the college.

“For the last one year, we are functioning as a day college and we have a ready infrastructure too. We are no more an evening college and hence the word ‘evening’ makes little sense,” Said Sharma, adding, “the media should focus on this so that the University decides on a new name soon.” Although Mr Sharma concedes “we (Dyal Singh evening) came in existence before Dyal Singh College and so we have a greater right on the name”, he has “no problem with whatever name university decides to give.” “From infrastructure to ongoing classes, everything is in place. The change in name is the only thing remaining and hence, the university should give a new name soon,” he concluded.


With inputs by Gajinder Singh in Chandigarh

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