Kolkata, Jan 19 (IANS) It would be a nostalgic hour for President Pranab Mukherjee when he walks into Vidyanagar College near here Sunday. After 45 years, not only will he get to meet some former students but also old colleagues.
The smell of fresh paint pervades the college decked up to receive its one-time political science lecturer - now the nation's first citizen.
"He told us that he wanted to meet his former colleagues, with whom he shared the staff room for five years. He also wanted to meet his former students. We have done accordingly. He will interact with them during his visit," said college principal Arabindo Ghosh.
Mukherjee, during his hour-long stay from around noon, will lay the foundation stone of a building as part of the college's golden jubilee celebrations.
He had taught at the college, located some 30 km from Kolkata in Amtala in South 24-Parganas district, between 1963 and 1968.
Mukherjee became its vice-principal in 1966, and also discharged responsibilities of the principal for some time. He left the college in 1968 to become a full-time politician.
But even four-and-a-half decades later, Mukherjee is remembered as one always eager to help out students and who never missed an 'adda' (chat) session.
"His relationship with the students was not confined to the classroom. He kept a tab on the problems faced by them even outside the college. He had helped students with his own money many times. He was popular and was always ready to help," Ghosh told IANS.
Mukherjee was a good teacher, he said.
"Students who studied under him say that he taught in a lucid style. His memory was sharp and he could recognise former students by their names," said Ghosh.
After the college hour, Mukherjee would make it a point to chat with colleagues in the staff room over tea, chop and 'muri' (puffed rice).
"Even after he become a politician and central minister, he never forgot the college and because of him we got Rs.3 crore from UGC (University Grants Commission) which enabled us to develop the infrastructure," Ghosh said.
The college has also decided to preserve the chair which Mukherjee used as well as some documents.