Recalling a rich legacy of a great professor of PEC, Chandigarh — From Lahore Days

Recalling a rich legacy of a great professor of PEC, Chandigarh

Tejinder Singh Bedi

@tsinghbedi

Alumni associations can work wonders to bring back a rich heritage and reservoir of memories associated with the contributions of one’s seniors if connectivity among all is encouraged by the systems we get bound too. Always on the look out for the available glorious past of my alma — mater, the Punjab Engineering College of Chandigarh from where I graduated with Honours in 1973, it was a great privilege to have come across some interesting insights of one of our senior most professors, Prof. Mirchandani’s well preserved docs connecting him with PEC recently.

Prof Mirchandani a graduating engineer of 1944 from NED who started his professional life as a lecturer first in Karachi in 1945 at the same institute was selected as an Assistant Professor at PEC Lahore in 1946 & moved to Roorkee in 1947 when our alma mater, Punjab engineering college shifted there on a temporary arrangement. The staff of the institute were transported by none other than our own Indian Air Force .

Mirchandani taught there till 1951 & took a competitive exam to join the Punjab Service of Engineers Class I in 1951 at Jullundur and In 1952 again resumed teaching at PEC’s Roorkee campus.

Later he cut his teeth at practical construction with the Punjab PWD and by 1957–58 became the Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, PEC ,Chandigarh . At Roorkee he also handled the additional responsibility as a Hostel superintendent and how fondly he was remembered by his students stood out in their farewell scroll later on. Mirchandani married his teaching experience with practical construction & excelled in his work.

Being artistic in nature he used to work very closely with architects and Landscapers during the conception stages. In 1955 -57 he worked as Executive Engineer Chandigarh construction division 3 (schools colleges hospitals and houses as well as maintenance of Chandigarh), where after he was chosen to construct IIT DELHI in 1961 as its Director of Works. In 1970 he was assigned the responsibility of constructing Haryana Agricultural University at Hissar as its Chief Engineer. By 1974 he had moved back to his parent cadre and worked at Himachal Pradesh Housing Board and later as Chief Engineer PWD. In 1980.He was selected by UNICEF to head their Water Supply Programme in Ethiopia.

In our times our professors were specialist PhDs, but during Professor Mirchandani’s time, professors were expected to lecture for 4 to 5 hours daily on diverse subjects. Mirchandani was no exception thus covering a diverse range from Surveying & camps, Building Construction, Design, Roads, Bridges, Railways, Harbors, Tunnels, Water Supply Hydraulics, Irrigation and Public health among others. Recalls his son, Arun Kumar Mirchandani that hi father had worked seamlessly in all three PWD departments in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Sometimes recalled Arun that he wondered how could his dad do this but later understood that it was because of having taught all subjects in various engineering courses. Till his last days, he kept himself busy and engaged in setting up and checking examination papers and the IIT, Delhi in its silver jubilee year also awarded him specially for his long distinguished services to his profession.

Long live the legacies of such Professors!

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Tejinder Singh Bedi

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)