Where are we headed, Ravenshaw?
When I saw it for the first time, it was enthralling. Though I was already late I had to stand still for a moment. The beautiful blue sky, with strokes of milky white, crowned what looked like a red beauty.What separated us was a wide span of greenery, laying as calm as a cradled child. Freshly sprinkled with water, the petrichor filled me with a captivating smell, almost hypnotizing. Altogether, it seemed like the work of an artist. Picture perfect! A couple of years ago I had a longing to be here, and now it’s my home.
Ravenshaw has been synonymous with Odisha and perhaps been a timeline of its progress for a sesquicentenary now. Dating back to the Na Anka Durbhikya of 1866, where the idea of such an institution was born till it becoming a university in 2006 and thereafter, Ravenshaw has been the torch bearer of the state and the intellectual birthplace of paragons who have gone on to become the pride of the state and the nation.On 1st April, 1936 this center of learning housed the first legislative assembly of the independent province in a hall that’s now a heritage. Such deep rooted is its association with Odia.
During my initial days here, when seeing the youth was obvious, i came across three old men sitting on a bench by the lawn, facing the red bricks, subtle yet appealingly arranged, in complete silence. Inspite of the bustling of the lively evenings they lay still, perhaps in deep contemplation. What are they thinking? Are they drowning in a nostalgia of the glorious past, is it the present that’s bothering them, do they know what has went wrong?
Ravenshaw, the teacher of generations, has been a living history teller. Though often, it has mirrored what’s happening and what ought to happen, why have we squashed it as unsolicited advice? Have we lost ourselves and our dreams with the moving tides? Why does it feel like the clockwork continued while the old soul couldn’t match the pace?
Why has ‘back in the glorious days’ become the thing to be celebrated and not the present? Why is the clock ticking away and we stand so helpless? What’s holding us behind? Why isn’t it a centre of excellence even after a century and half? Who has the answers?