In the second episode Prof K M Tiwary shares how he was refused admission to BA in Patna college, even though he was eligible for the same.
In this episode he throws some light on his life as a student at H D Jain College Arah. One may also get a glimpse here of the political climate of the country and the world of that time.
Me: Once you were refused admission to Patna college, where did you go for your Bachelor of Arts?
Prof Tiwary: I had no other option but to look for another college. And the only choice for me in Patna was B N College. There was no other college for Humanities in Patna back then.
Moinul Haq was the Principal of B N College. He was another interesting character. He was also the Chief of the Hockey Federation of India. Moinul Haq stadium in Patna is named after him.
I knew a student of B N College named Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthy who was a student leader of the Communist Party. Later he became a prominent leader of CPI(M). He was a few years senior to me then. He accompanied me to meet the Principal in his office for my admission.
Moinul Haq asked me, “Where had you been in I A?”
When he came to know that I was in Patna College, he said, “You should go back to Patna College because we don’t accept the students who are nerds. We admit the students who are either sportsmen or potential leaders”.
After that he narrated the story of a student of the college named Mr A P Sharma, who was an Indian Railway Union leader then. Later he became the Union Minister in the Govt of India and still later Governor of Punjab and West Bengal.
Mr Moinul Haq also shared with Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthy how he was not given a visa once to play Hockey in a Communist country while he was leading the Indian Hockey team. It was because Mr Moinul Haq and some other teachers of St Xaviour’s School Patna had been part of a committee which were sympathisers of the policies of the United States of America.
Despite these anecdotes Principal Haq didn’t agree for my admission to his college.
Me: Sir, what did you do after you were refused admission in B N College?
Prof Tiwary: When the doors for my admission were closed in Patna, I had no choice but to move to the only college in my district town, Arah, and that was H D Jain College. The principal of the college was one Prof Bhattacharya. He saw my marks and simply wrote ‘Admit’ on my application form. I was admitted.
In Arah my link with the Communist Party became stronger and my responsibilities increased. Besides attending the classes I had to represent the Party in the college and the town. I had to go to Patna once or twice a week and bring the literature, books and newspapers from the Party office for distribution in Arah town. I used to visit the other nearby towns too for the Party work.
Back then the Party had a popular newspaper, Janshakti, which was published from Patna. I used to purchase 200 copies of the newspaper from my own pocket money in Patna and sell them in Arah. Generally I would choose a Tea Shop in the marketplace or near the railway station and sit there. A Tea Shop is a place where a number of people come for tea. Some of them used to buy the newspaper. The shopkeeper knew me as a student. So he didn’t mind my sitting and selling the newspaper there. I would sell the paper to the common people who won’t necessarily be connected to the party.
Within a year of my admission a student was penalised by the college authorities. The student had not been at fault. He had become a victim of a teacher’s personal grudge against him. It was a case of injustice and I organized a protest in the College against that decision.
When I met the Principal during the protest, he said, “Are you the same student who had come from Patna College last year? Have you come here to indulge in such activities?” But he couldn’t take any action against me because the whole college was with me.
In 1951 we led another protest in the college during a conference of professors. Our demand was that the college should be closed for the first General Elections of Independent India (1951-52). A number of students wanted to do canvassing during the elections.
Those were the early days of the cold war which sought to split the world between the two blocks led by the two superpowers, the US and USSR. They would try to influence the world on every single issue like politics, economics, ideology etc and every move made by the Western Alliance led by the USA would be opposed by the Eastern Alliance represented by the USSR.
Soviet Union was then the source of the Communist movement in the world. It was the fountainhead of the Communist strategies, policies, ideas, protests, movements.
One such movement initiated by the Soviet Union to counter the US possession and stockpiling of nuclear arms was the Peace movement. USSR had not acquired the atom bombs by then and it was trying to project itself as a peace loving nation and America as a war monger. My duty as a member of the Party was to propagate and lead several such protests and movements of the Party.
In 1948 the Communist Party was banned in India after a call for armed rebellion by Mr B T Ranadive in its second congress in Kolkata. Many of its leaders had gone underground. The ban was lifted in 1951 before the First General Elections.
Dr Arun Jee