Renaming without purpose

I joined Bombay Labour Institute in 1971 and graduated in 1973. I remember my very first visit to the Institute in 1971. A neglected institution, I thought.

It looked like a typical government office with bad floor tiles, yellow fading distemper on walls some of them bore marks of water seepage and sparsely badly furnished Director's office. A wide [by Mumbai standard] staircase took you to the first floor where one classroom and some faculty offices were located. The faculty offices were just about functional, with a table and two chairs. Overall a very gloomy environment!

We used to stay in hostel, which was maintained clean but had bare minimum not-so-well-maintained facilities. A recreation room in which some weights were kept for exercise, and it had a table tennis table which was bent on one side. It took great skill for the player on that side to keep the ball in play because it would bounce and move in unpredictable direction.

The plot of land in front of the Institute grew vegetables [even in 1971 it was an odd place in the heart of the city] so it looked green and provided some welcome relief. At the end of the road was Cardio Vascular Thoracic centre of KEM Hospital. At another end was a series of chawls, and after reading 'Romancing with Life' I realised that Dev Anand stayed there once. But that did not make it any better place to live. Parel, where the institute is situated was essentially a place where textile workers lived. One observed the working class and its ways of life and, in that sense, a good place to locate the institute.

This Institute was renamed Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies, a deliberate attempt of abbreviation indicating clearly the objects of its focus. The students wanted the word 'Management' included but the Ministry wanted it to be 'Labour' oriented according to some gossip.

And that brings us to the Ministry's role, or to be precise, the lack of it. The Institute the alumni of which include some big names among HR professionals continues to remain neglected. This Institute has produced even a Labour Minister! But it remains where it was. The facilities are grossly inadequate, the faculty comes only for its love of the institute and alumni visit to repay the 'debt' of that institute. The Institute has little ability to draw the best faculty to teach the students. This institute that once posed a formidable alternative to Tata Institute of Social Sciences is unfortunately no match even to its lesser known counterparts today. The fact is that the institute lacks some of the facilities which are seen so commonly among the run-of-the-mill institutes that are found in every other building in Pune! And of course, adequate funds!!

The Institute invited Mr. Bhujbal, Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Nawab Malik, Minister for Labour, M/s. Handore, Suresh Shetty, Dr. Nitin Raut and Special invitees are Mr. Mohan Rawale, MP, and Mr. Dagdoo Sakpal, MLA to participate in renaming [yes, yet again!] it as 'Kai. Narayan Maghaji Lokhande Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies'.

I hope that the dignitaries have noticed the state of neglect this institute is in [notwithstanding valiant efforts of Dr. Rajan Tungare, the current Director] and the need to upgrade it. We alumni of the Institute expect greater interest and support of the Government of Maharashtra which has so far retained interest for namesake [pun intended].
Vivek

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