Soon after joining Punjab Agricultural University, I attended a lecture by Dr SS Johal, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University. In the course of his well-worded discourse, the learned speaker referred to PAU as our mother. The very mention of the word ‘mother’, particularly with regard to a university, caught my fancy immediately. Earlier, I had seen singers, poets and filmmakers making nostalgic and respectful references to the mother. In my childhood, I had seen the film Mother India which, I recall, became very popular and was watched by almost every Indian, young or old. During my school days, I happened to read the poem ‘Maan’ by Prof Mohan Singh in which he compares the mother with a tree shedding dense shade (Maan warga ghan-chhaavan boota, mainu nazar na aaye). A few years later, I heard a poem by Surjit Patar in his melodious voice, striking an emotional note. In this beautiful poem, the celebrated poet says that after toiling abroad for bread and butter, some, on return to the homeland, would bask in the funeral fire of their mothers.But, that day, the equation of a university with the mother by Dr Johal was something new and in a different context. A question, therefore, kept coming to my mind for quite some time: Can an agricultural institution be called a mother? In order to find a satisfactory answer, it was necessary for me to have a quick look at the contribution made by this premier university since its inception in 1962. At the same time, my curiosity to know about my new place of work was raised by the aforesaid remark of an eminent economist.The first thing that has impressed me most is the close coordination here between the research and extension directorates. One must salute especially the extension service which has done a positive work in carrying the research results obtained here to the farmers’ fields. In political parlance, it is often said that human memory is short and people forget things soon. But I have noticed that all associated with the research and extension work recall with pride how better wheat and rice varieties were evolved here during the seventies. Punjab was never known for rice cultivation till 1968 but rice production in our state has been more or less dramatic, thanks to the concerted efforts of our researchers and extension specialists.A close observation of our university’s day-to-day functioning and a continuous follow-up of its achievements have led me to some concrete conclusions. Fulfilling the dream and desire of its far-sighted founder and living up to the expectations of Punjab’s people, Punjab Agricultural University has proved itself to be one of the finest institutions in agricultural research, education and extension services. It goes without saying that PAU has played a key role in ushering in the green revolution, making Punjab a granary of India. The scientists here have been devoted to the research projects undertaken by them and have done a commendable work. A good number of them have contributed a great deal to the agricultural research and have brought about a remarkable socio-economic change in the state of Punjab. Looking at the motherly role played by PAU over the years and decades, I find much meaning and force in what Dr Johal says.
The writer Harpreet Kaur Bains is a teacher at Department of Journalism PAU, Ludhiana