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Renaming Government College Lahore

Renaming GCU Lahore
Lahore, Nov 14: The GCU is a university that plans to have its own affiliated colleges in the ripeness of time. The Government College Lahore is going to be one of them. If that is in the works, what do you do with a doublet name you have now: is GCU a college or a university? If it is one, then it can't be the other
When the Government College Lahore was made university in 2002, it could have taken rebirth under a different name, but its administrators, most of them old alumni, couldn't bring themselves to ditching the old name for a new one. They named it Government College University (GCU), the first two words a concession to nostalgia and the third word a marker of new status. There was a proposal to give it a new name The Ravi University but a majority didn't want to lose the shiver of memory Government College still sent down their spines.

As time passed, getting the university status was no longer a novelty. Lots of other government colleges got upgraded and named themselves the same name. However, not all of them aroused nostalgia the way Government College Lahore did; but all of them became GCU.

At the risk of being uncharitable, one can say that the sneaky intent was to share the nimbus of the GCU charisma. After the emergence of at least two other decidedly less meritorious GCUs - vice chancellor of one resigned recently after 'life threats' - the Lahore GCU is once again thinking of renaming itself.

The GCU is a university that plans to have its own affiliated colleges in the ripeness of time. The Government College Lahore is going to be one of them. If that is in the works, what do you do with a doublet name you have now: is GCU a college or a university? If it is one, then it can't be the other. Is it time to go back to the drawing board of imagination and think of a new name? And no one can impose his favoured coinage. All the stakeholders - the Vice-Chancellor, the Syndicate, the Chancellor, the Education Department and the Chief Minister - will have to agree to a new name. There is the Old Boys Society that will certainly like to be heard too.

It is going to be almost impossible to agree on a name. Finally, the deadlocked lower echelons will receive the command from on high that will close the debate. And that oracle will likely come from the Chancellor who happens to be whoever is Governor at the time. The GCU has only one alternative so far and that luckily comes from a verbal memory concomitant: the Ravian. The old GC boys have always called themselves Ravians, perhaps after the college journal The Ravi, made famous by the juvenilia of many who were to become icons of their literary age. It is proposed in some quarters that the GCU be renamed The Ravi University.

In some ways GCU is lucky it has The Ravi to fall back on. The Old Ravians Society will definitely be attracted to the new name. They will probably prefer the new name to be The Ravian University, with a trilateral abbreviation in vogue these days. It will become TRU, like BNU and JNU. Will this be seen as an improvement on GCU? If you focus on how close TRU gets to the adjective TRUE, you might be attracted. But if you clash with the undefeatable force of nostalgia, as embodied in the magical GC, then you cannot be attracted.

Universities in Europe are usually located on river banks or have rivers flowing through their campuses. The Government College was a Gothic structure with a motto borrowed from Horace - sapere aude or Courage to Know - by the great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, and borrowed from Kant most probably by the founder of the College, Prof Leitner. Then someone took Lahore's river Ravi and put it on the cover of the college magazine, chose red as the colour of the college blazer and put a flaming torch of Enlightenment on its pocket. This is how the myth of the GC was anonymously manufactured!

If you don't want to say goodbye to all these symbols, then you should concentrate on the word ravi a little. It is definitely not the short 'a' ravi as it appears in Ravindranath Tagore or Ravi Shankar. In this sense ravi means sun. But the root 'rv' has other meanings. It means flowing and singing. It is strange that singing and weeping is expressed by the same root in the Indo-European languages. Hence the villain of Ramayana, Ravan is someone who makes you weep. In English, rave (to shout deliriously) is from the same root. But concentrate on the positive meaning: singing and flowing.

Dr Akmal Hussain first mentioned to me the Persian connection to the Sanskrit root. I was sceptical so I looked up my Monnier-Williams and found that he was right. In Persian the root 'rv' has given us wonderful words describing life's most important principle, the flux of change, which our 'Ravian' Allama Iqbal made the central pivot of his philosophy. He liked the word rud (stream) derived from this root.

In his Javid Nama, Iqbal named himself Zinda Rud (Stream full of Life) and took Rumi as his Virgil. When Allama Iqbal's son Javid Iqbal wrote his father's biography he rightly titled it Zinda Rud! If you look up your English dictionary it will say the word river is of uncertain origin. But Spanish rio is related and is close to our ravi. A university emblematises knowledge and nothing symbolises knowledge better than a river.

The word Ravi is nothing but a kind of flowing besides being the name of the river Ravi that has been associated with the city of Lahore. Lahore itself carries the Sanskrit root that we can't get rid of. Lahore is from Loh, a son of Lord Ram. The task of renaming the GCU will be taken in hand by the stakeholders. It is going to be a tough assignment. Daily Times

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Punjab University VC's guards fracture leg of student: Operation in PU hostel
Lahore: Guards of the Punjab University vice-chancellor on Thursday allegedly tortured an Old Campus hostel student fracturing his leg, while a varsity spokesman claimed that he was injured while climbing a wall.

Police also arrested two Punjab University students for 'misbehaving' with the VC and some teachers.

Motorists faced the brunt of the clash between students and the varsity administration for hours as traffic remained choked for hours along the canal when activists of a students wing took to the street (to register their protest).

On Thursday noon, Vice-Chancellor Mujahid Kamran along with Hall Council Chairman Prof Dr Saeed Ahmad Nagra and other teachers visited Khalid bin Waleed Hostel in Anarkali where most of the Oriental and Law colleges' (constituent institutions of PU) students are boarding.

According to some PU students, the clash between the visiting team and the students took place when the former questioned the stay of Abdul Hafeez in the hostel. Hafeez, what the administration said, had been expelled from the varsity for taking part in 'political' activities.

The exchange of harsh words between the VC and Hafeez resulted in 'severe beating' of the latter at the hands of the former's guards, the students said, and added that they (guards) nabbed two other students who came to rescue him and handed them over to the New Anarkali police. They have been identified Sabir Husain of Kashmiryat Department and Yasir, whose status is yet to be cleared whether he is a student or an outsider. Hafeez was taken to Mayo Hospital.

Anarkali SHO Bashir Ahmad said that an FIR would be registered after consultation with the varsity administration.

The PU administration on the other hand has portrayed an altogether a different picture. Its spokesman, Shabbir Sarwar, said: "Upon receiving complains from the students that they could not get possession of their allotted rooms in the hostels, the vice-chancellor along with other teachers visited the hostel and warned the illegal occupants to vacate the rooms."

He said: "Former IJT Nazim Abdul Hafeez to whom the VC had already warned during his last week visit to leave the hostel, misbehaved with him and other senior teachers and also 'pushed them and throw chairs' on them."

"PU students captured one of them, identified as Sabir, while other outsiders managed to flee. They beat him and later handed him over to police. Hafeez sustained injuries while climbing a wall," he maintained.

He said the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) had captured room Nos 107, 106, 69, 84, 89, 99, 50, 121, 26, 184, 114, 200 and 108 in the Old Campus hostel.

The IJT condemned the torture and arrest of the students. Its spokesman, Qaisar Sharif, admitted that Hafeez had been rusticated, but his case was pending with the civil court thereby he was 'entitled' to stay in the hostel till the decision. He claimed that the administration handed over four students to police.

In fact, he said, the varsity administration had taught a 'lesson' to those who were protesting against fee increase, 'compulsory' charge of Rs700 per month against mess services from every boarder and other irregularities in hostel affairs. He urged the chancellor to probe the incident.

Some senior teachers said they were surprised over the 'mishandling' of the matter by the administration. "It is a childish act on the part of the VC to visit hostels in order to check outsiders." They said if the VC was sincere in kicking out the outsiders from the varsity, he should launch an 'organised operation' in the hostels.

They said the hall council chairman, who is supposed to look after all hostel affairs, was just discharging the duty of allotments in girls' hostels, and the department heads in boys' hostels.

Hall Council Chairman Saeed Nagra said that the administration had already launched an operation against the outsiders and flushed out a number of illegal occupants from the New Campus hostels.

Following the incident, a good number of students led by IJT activists held a demonstration at the News Campus Bridge that threw traffic out of gear for more than two hours on Canal Road and adjoining arteries. The protesters also burnt tyres and damaged a bus. Police reached the spot and dispersed them.

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Pro-VC protest continues at Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF)
Faisalabad: The Government College University Faisalabad's teachers, non-teaching staff and hundreds of male and female students continued their protest on third consecutive day on Thursday.

The protest started after GCUF vice-chancellor Dr Arif Ali Zaidi's resignation that he had tendered a couple of days ago. However, Dr Zaidi is performing his duty and awaits response from the chancellor.

Carrying banners and placards, the protestors gathered outside the vice chancellor office and chanted slogans in his favour, demanding the chancellor should not accept the resignation in varsity's larger interest.

Following prolonged slogan-raising by the protesters, Dr Zaidi came out of his office and addressed his supporters, asking them to call off their protest.

He advised the students to not to boycott their classes as it was not good for their studies and thanked them for acknowledging the services he rendered for the university. He also promised he would review his resignation decision. Dawn

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