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Memoirs of a Teacher

My memories of our college date back to June 1963. I received an interview call from the college for the post of lecturer in Economics. I had decided to leave Reserve bank of India and join teaching profession. In those days it was very difficult to get a job...

My memories of our college date back to June 1963. I received an interview call from the college for the post of lecturer in Economics. I had decided to leave Reserve bank of India and join teaching profession. In those days it was very difficult to get a job of a lecturer, as teaching experience to enter this field was required, and without betting teaching job it was not possible to get this experience; so it was like a vicious circle. There were only three commerce colleges and our college was the fourth to start in 1960. When I appeared for the interview there were more than 20 aspirants for a part time job of the lecturer in Economics. On the last Saturday of June I was informed by late Dr. S. H. Deshpande (then Head of the Department of Economics) whether I can start taking lectures from the coming Monday and I agreed without even pondering for a second, because of my eagerness to join teaching profession though it meant

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leaving a secure full time job in Reserve Bank of India and taking up a part time job in a college. Of course, at the end of the hear I was told by Late Prin. M. D. Limaye that I will be appointed as full time lecturer from the next academic year.

In those days college was a one storied building and construction of second floor was going on, which was completed during the year 1963 – 64. The Dixit road which linked Nehru road to the college was like any village road with many potholes which used to get filled with monsoon water. For employed students there were morning classes (06:45 am – 09:00 am ) and again in the evening ( 06:30 pm – 08:30 pm ). Lectures were held both for employed and non-employed batches (regular college timings). However, I must admit that enthusiasm of employed students was tremendous in spite of the hardships associated with ‘earn & learn’ style of life.

This year became a turning point in one more way. One of the reasons for leaving Reserve Bank of India was the condition that one had to take prior permission to publish anything and I had aspirations to write articles and get them published. This desire of mine was fulfilled in the very first year of joining the college. In that year Gold Control Rule was passed which had serious repercussions on the society in general and Goldsmiths and jewellery trade in particular. This first article of mine was on Gold control and I was lucky because it was appreciated by Late Shri. S. G. Pethe, veteran leader in the field of Gold jewellery and also Director of Parle Tilak Vidhyalaya Association. Dr. Indumati Parikh on of my mentors (wife of Late Dr. G. D. Parikh, Rector of Mumbai University) decided to send it to Dr. Laxmanshastri Joshi under whose guidance monthly ‘Navbharat’ – a prestigious Marathi magazine was published. My first article was approved by him and was published in the magazine which gave me further inspiration to write on economic matters.

As the years rolled by, the responsibilities increased. Almost every paper from F.Y.B.Com to Sr.B.Com ( four year degree course ) I had taught in first 12 years and then in 1975, 10+2+3 revised pattern of education was introduced. The +3 level (i.e. Degree College) teaching started in 1977 and a little before that two publishers Himalaya Publications and Vipul Prakashan approached me for writing textbooks for the revised course Economics papers for commerce students. In co-authorship I wrote textbooks for every paper taught by Economics department from 1977 till I retired.

Another activity started in this period which gave me immense happiness was, to create more awareness among students about General Knowledge, which was now part of the new Foundation Course paper for F.Y.B.Com students. I decided to start a wall paper with latest news items for which full support was given by college authorities. To involve students, newspaper cuttings were invited from students with their names written on the cuttings and in this venture I was helped by many enthusiastic students & the wall paper had tremendous response as it provided the students the latest items which helped them to score more marks in General Knowledge section of Foundation Course Paper – I

In the year 1988 there was a long strike by degree college teachers and no lectures were held during that period. Hence, we had ample time on hand. I decided to utilize it for conducting a survey in collaboration with Dr. Usha Rao, an eminent educationist. Maharashtra Government had passed a law making education free for girls in the state up to XIIth Standard to encourage education for poor girl students. As a student of Economics, I was of the opinion, that type of blanket fee concession may not help much to boost education among the poorer section of society and was not necessary at all for girls from upper strata. However, it had to be supported by factual data. A survey of 2000 lady students in junior colleges (these were not on strike) was conducted with the help of many enthusiastic students. The findings of the survey were published in Indian Express (06th December 1987) and Samakaleen – a Gujrathi newspaper. To my utter surprise I received a letter from senior economist of Resident Mission in India of the World Bank (International Bank for reconstruction and development) Mr. Samuel S. Lieberman, asking for the copy of the report, stating that the World Bank Authorities found it very relevant to their study.

All this was possible because of the excellent well-equipped library facilities in our college which were considered as one of the best in suburbs and with a very helpful and efficient librarian Late Shri M. R. Deshpande at the helm of affairs. Our library was really a treasured asset for teachers as well as students. However, the most important thing which encouraged me throughout my career was the response from my students. Here I am reminded of preface of a book written by noted American agricultural economist Dr. Schultz, who had said that, he thought of writing that book because of a particular question asked by his students in his class. Students make a teacher more perfect and make him/her strive for excellence. I am thankful to all my students whose overwhelming response to my teaching made me think more about acquiring perfection in teaching and go deeper into the subject. This was the objective with which I had entered the teaching profession. I wanted to create a feeling among my students that economics is not a boring subject (as it is usually considered) of which students should be scared of, but an interesting analysis of human economic behavior. In the process of accomplishing this objective I encouraged students to ask questions even in the middle of the lecture and taught them they should not accept my theory just because it is given by a noted economist but question it and apply it to day to day life. If I have to some extent succeeded in creating interest of this kind among my students, I feel I have done my job and this I consider more important that the ‘Outstanding Teacher Award’ given to me in September 1994 by the International Association of Lions Club (Dist.323.A3)

I am happy to state that even in extra-curricular activities assigned to me right from students’ council, editorship of college magazine, college co-operative stores etc. etc. I had whole hearted support and cooperation of students.

In June 1992, I was appointed as Vice-Principal, and in August 1996 Assistant Director of Dahanukar Institute of Management. Finally in November 1996 I was appointed In-charge principal and in October 1997 Principal of the college. The most important happenings of this period were – Inauguration of the Computer Training Centre, ‘Computrain’ on 12th August 1997. It was started under the auspices of Dahanukar Institute of Management by Parle Tilak Vidyalaya Association for providing computer education at a reasonable rate thus fulfilling one of the most urgent requirements of the students. During this period Dahanukar College of Commerce was selected, as one of the center for centralized assessment

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of T.Y.B.Com examination papers. The college management had decided to have an auditorium in the college premises and had grand plans for extension of the college building. Initial meetings for discussing these matters started and now the dream has come true in the form of a magnificent building comprising of Shri Keshavrao Ghaisas auditorium fulfilling the long cherished dream of many years.

I will be failing in my duties if I do not mention the precious advise & unstinted support given at every stage by the Management of the college. Special mention must be made of the following members of the Board of Directors of Parle Tilak Vidyalaya Association – Late Shri M. V. Sathaye, Late Shri G. R. Thosar, Shri Y. M. Bapat, Shri A. B. Ganu, Shri D. M. Pethe & Shri V. S. Jog, without their guidance it would not have been possible to do whatever little justice I could do in discharging my duties. I am also thankful to all my supportive well wishers from teaching and non-teaching staff of the college who made my 36 years in the college worth remembering throughout life.

- Shrimati A. M. Acharya
Ex - Principal