Monday, July 1, 2013

The Hindu and APJ in my life

The Hindu and APJ in my life

APJ referred to in this story is Prof AP Jambulingam and not Ex-President of India popularly known as APJ. There are similarities among them, about that a little later.

Prof AP Jambulingam, nonagenarian (92), passed away on 20th June 2013. He was the Principal of Guindy Engineering College in early sixties, then for two decades Founder Principal of Southern Regional Institute for Training Technical Teachers (later it became Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI), and now National Institute for Technical Teacher Training (NITTT). He served as expert in UNESCO and the UN after retirement.
Prof Jambulingam is a simple, humane, God-fearing person. Essentially a mechanical engineer, he turned out to be a leader, an institution builder, a teacher – trainer, educationist and what not? As far I am concerned he was a very considerate and compassionate boss, for I worked under him for about four years as the first librarian of TTTI during late sixties.

It was a job advertisement in “The Hindu” that brought me to him and TTTI. It was again a Hindu advertisement about a vacancy in Indian Detonators that took me away from him to Hyderabad. Again it is now The Hindu obituary advertisement that told me about his separation in a permanent way. He was a marvellous man. It was the tremendous freedom, independence and encouragement he gave (that was innate in him) that helped me set up a decent technical library at TTTI. This has grown over four decades into an enviable Resource Centre, headed presently Dr Ravichandran.

Once, to help his daughter in her school work, he asked me for some info on history of bicycles. Following conversation ensued after his reading up what I gave:

APJ: Who suggested this wonderful book? Though I am a mechanical Engineer I had not known about these things!
Me: Sir, It was Prof Cornelius who asked this book to be bought
APJ: Wonderful. She has done excellent work. Her contributions to the library will be remembered by all.

I wish to point out that Prof APJ and Prof Cornelius HOD, Education, were not getting on well due to certain personal misunderstanding. But APJ won’t mix up personal animosities while judging a person’s professional work. That was APJ.

Prof APJ and President APJ have many things in common. Both are simple. Both are loved by people. Both were leaders of a different kind. Both liked kids. Both were innovative. Both were excellent bosses wherever they happened to work. If you look up to ex-president APJ in great respect with awe I do the same to both – to the latter because of my personal association, to the former because of what I know indirectly about him.

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