In its 100 year journey, the University of Delhi has lived up to the expectations of India. The journey started with 750 students and three colleges- Ramjas, Hindu, St. Stephens. Today the university has more than 6 lakh students and 90 colleges. Then there used to be two faculties- Arts and Science, today there are 16. This university, which started with a budget of 40 thousand rupees, has today reached a budget of 838 crore rupees.
In these hundred years, who will be called the golden period of the university and why?
It is very difficult to say that. When the university started, it faced many challenges. Once a proposal came in front of the then government that this university should be closed. There was a lot of discussion on this in the Central Assembly. Then it was decided that running this institution is in the interest of the nation. After the independence of India in 1947, the development of this university was very rapid. There is hardly any house in Delhi where Delhi University has not reached. I think you will find people studying in Delhi University in every district, tehsil of the country or who have passed out from this university.
Describe the condition of the university library. How was it in the beginning and how is it now?
It is a matter of beginning when this university was being built and when the Vice Regal Hall here became vacant. The room here, which we call the conference room, used to be a library earlier. After that the Science Library was formed. Apart from this, a central library was constructed here. Initially there were 1380 books here. Here Tata also has a library in the Delhi School of Economics. The State Book of Arts, a large number of books and a large number of digital archives are present in all the libraries here. Apart from this, there is also a large database. Just as a very good university level library should be there, so is the library here. The number of physical books in our place is more than 4 lakhs.
What was the role of the university in the freedom movement?
Delhi University has played an important role in the freedom movement. From its inception in 1922 to 1947, this institution was an important center of many events of the independence movement. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact took place on the campus of Delhi University, which is today known as Vice Regal Hall. The Viceroy used to live here then. When the Congress started the freedom movement, the students here played an important role in that movement as well. It is also told that Shaheed Bhagat Singh was kept in Delhi University for a few days when the bomb was detonated in the Central Assembly. We have preserved the place where Bhagat Singh was kept and made it open to all the students. Whoever comes here gets inspiration from the thoughts of Bhagat Singh.
What was the effect of Corona on the university?
We have lost many of our good teachers and students in the Corona crisis. It was a very painful time. In view of this crisis, there is a need to further strengthen the health infrastructure in the university.
Now there is talk that students should be made job creators from job seekers. What is DU doing about this?
Right now we are starting a company. That company will run a business incubator, where children will be trained to become entrepreneurs. They will be told how to start a company. We wish that every college should have an incubator. Along with this, while preparing the new curriculum designed for undergraduates, it has been kept in mind that how to make children entrepreneurs. We would expect most kids to take this curriculum on track and work on new business concepts.
What are the reactions of teachers and students you are getting to see about the new education policy?
Students are very happy. The new education policy gives choice to the students, implements the concept of major-minor. Let’s say someone took admission in MSc or Physics Honors and that major got fixed. Now he can do minor in Psychology or Geography. Or in any other discipline. The new education policy gives flexibility to the students that they can pursue a degree in any subject as per their interest. It is of great interest to the students as it will also have value based courses, internships, general elective, language based courses. Initially, the teachers felt that its implementation would reduce the workload. We told all the teachers that it is not a matter of work load, it is being implemented so that the work load of the students is fine. After this the teachers also understood that this is a good initiative.