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Renaming Dyal Singh College not a political move, says college admin

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The name change followed the conversion of the evening wing to an autonomous college with regular morning hours.

New Delhi: The administration at Delhi University’s Dyal Singh College has defended its decision to rename its erstwhile evening wing by prefixing ‘Vande Mataram’ to the name.

The name change followed the conversion of the evening wing to an autonomous college with regular morning hours. However, it has drawn heavy criticism from certain quarters, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), as a bid to dilute the legacy of 19th century philanthropist Dyal Singh Majithia, also the founder of Punjab National Bank, whose estate financed the establishment of the college. The move has also been termed hurtful to Sikh sentiments.

Speaking to ThePrint, Amitabh Sinha, chairman of the governing body at Dyal Singh College, said there was nothing political about adding ‘Vande Mataram’ to the college name.

“It is just about identification of two different colleges, which were earlier part of the same college,” he added.

“Dyal Singh was not (just) a Sikh, he was a philanthropist, so why this Sikh politics over his name?” he added. He said Akali politicians were trying to “take the Sikh mindset back to the (1984) riots”.

“There is a very sinister design behind this politics. This is a very dangerous, anti-India statement,” he added.

The name game

When the college administration had proposed to change the name last year after a separate college was carved out of the evening wing, Delhi SAD MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa had threatened the administration with “dire consequences”.

Recently, he accused Sinha of making the move to gain publicity before his term ends.

“Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and Amitabh Sinha are working together to create a controversy to stay in power,” he said. “All the students and teachers are with us. Sinha has made no contribution to the college trust. He is close to the VC which is why he was elected,” Sirsa added.

The HRD ministry, too, has expressed concern about the move.

“I recently got to know that the name of Dyal Singh College has been changed. This will not be accepted because we will not allow that,” HRD minister Javadekar said. “I have already given a statement in Parliament that the renaming will not happen. There will be action against the college administration…” he added.

“If the college wants to identify its different branches, they can call it A and B, one and two…but they cannot completely change the name,” he added.

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