Excerpts from an interview of Prof P.Narasimha Reddy conducted by our student.
“Nivedita, how about interviewing our college Secretary, who was the force behind the success of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of R.B.V.R.Reddy Women’s College”. These words from my English lecturer on her way to our class startled me a little. I didn’t know how to react. Though, initially I was hesitant imagining the uphill task of interviewing a person of the stature of Prof. P. Narasimha Reddy. However the keenness of my lecturer aroused in me the determination to live up to the expectation. I agreed to do the interview. Armed with courage and confidence I approached the secretary to elicit his opinion about such an interview. To my surprise and utmost happiness he readily agreed for the same and even asked me to fix up the date and time so that I will not miss my classes.
During the course of the interview I found him very considerate, a die hard individual: a man of cut-and-dry decisions who expresses his views freely and gives a ringside view of his opinions. He is a man of practical wisdom, with an incredible knowledge of ground realities. His drive to serve even at this point of his life and career is truly commendable.
An interview in itself is quite challenging, but if the personality is Prof. Narasimha Reddy, then it is simply icing on the cake. Interviewing him was indeed a voyage of experience.
Nivedita – Sir first of all congratulations for making the President, his Excellency A.P.J.Abdul Kalam’s visit on the Occasion of valedictory of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, a grand success.
Secretary – As far as the President’s visit is concerned, I don’t think I individually need to be congratulated. It was a successful event because the students, the staff and members of the Management, all extended their unstinted support to me in arranging the function. I was only instrumental in carrying out their advice and so, I don’t think I specially deserve to be congratulated for that.
Nivedita – Sir, we (the students of R.B.V.R.R. Women’s College) are all very interested to know about your schooling, your college life and University education. Sir, would you share something about your formative years with us?
Secretary – I had my early education upto 8th standard in Hanumakonda, Warangal as my father was employed there. In 1948, on account of securing independence to Hyderabad from Nizam’s rule, schools were boycotted by the students. I participated in the boycott and was at home in my village (about 50 miles from Hyderabad) for one year. Later I joined Chaderghat High School for my Intermediate studies. I joined City College and later entered Osmania University where I completed my B.A. with Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics as my optionals. Statistics was a new field and, at that time, there was no course in statistics under O.U. So, I moved to Karnataka University from where I did my M.A. in statistics.
Nivedita – Do you remember any particular incident from your childhood that promoted you to opt for social service?
Secretary – There is no such event as such which has prompted me to take up social service. My father was involved in social service in running the Madapati Hanumantha Rao School and R.B.V.R.R. Women’s College. Both my father and the Late Madapati Hanumantha Rao introduced me into the management of both the institutions. My father was reluctant because I was not married at that time. So, he persuaded Mr. Madapati Hanumantha Rao to wait for sometime. In 1961, when I got married, Mr. Madapati Hanumantha Rao Garu prevailed upon my father and made me a life member of the Society called ‘Hyderabad MahilaVidya Sangham”. From then on, I am continuing to be a member of the governing council of the Sangham, the society, which is running this institution and also the Madapati Hanumantha Rao School.
Nivedita – What motivated you to choose the post of an Honorary Secretary in RBVRR Women’s College?
Secretary – Hanumantha Rao persuaded me to take up the responsibility as the Secretary of the school, when the then Secretary who also happened to be Joint Secretary of the college resigned.
Nivedita – How did your parents, family and friends contribute to your success? What degree of discipline and values did your father inculcate in family?
Secretary – My father was the Vice-President of this college and he was involved in the construction of this building. He always supported me and was a very strict disciplinarian. Under his guidance, I grew up to be a disciplined and punctual person. I do not like to go late to any function and I do not like to wait for anybody. There are several instances where I walked out of the functions, without attending them, when they did not start on time.
Nivedita – Famous playwright Girish Karnad had once categorically stated, “My Mathematics skills have helped me in becoming a successful playwright’. Sir, has your aptitude in statistics helped you in carrying out the responsibility of a Secretary in our college satisfactorily?
Secretary – Mathematics would always help anyone to lead a successful life, because it prompts you to be logical in your actions. My aptitude in Statistics has definitely helped me in discharging my responsibilities satisfactorily as the Controller of Examinations, the Director of Academic Audit cell and the Dean of students of Osmania University.
I served as the Controller of Examinations for several years. My predecessors and successors were pestered by the students with their demands. I did not face any such situation because I was uniformly strict to all. If you show some favourtism to somebody and if you do not extend the same thing to others, you will be in trouble. So, I avoided that and always tried to be equally strict to all. This was appreciated by both the students and the staff. I am happy that I could render some service to the University. I brought some semblance of discipline in the examinations, of course, with the help of my colleagues and teachers. There was rampant copying in the colleges, except a few women’s colleges like ours. There were several colleges where copying was considered a matter of right by the students. So, I had to be very strict. We organized flying squads, sitting squads and surprise visits where I used to go along with some of my colleagues. These measures brought down malpractices in the examination
Nivedita – To which of these jobs would you attribute maximum job satisfaction?
Secretary – I derived equal satisfaction in discharging my duties in the various jobs. But I do feel I could contribute a worthy lot as the Controller of Examinations in Osmania University.
Nivedita – What is your opinion on brain drain?
Secretary – I do believe that brain drain is not in the interest of our country. The prevailing conditions, in India, however are not conductive to lead a satisfactory life. I could not convince my children to stay in the country because at every step they had to face problems.
Nivedita – Our college has contributed a lot towards the education of economically weaker sections of women from rural areas. Apart from setting up educational institutions, what other measures can be taken up for the upliftment of rural women?
Secretary – Rural women must be provided opportunities that will make them financially and economically independent so that they can support their families. Those below the poverty line need financial resources to contribute for the upliftment of women both in our state and in our country.
Nivedita – Are the college authorities taking any steps towards the introduction of several other PG courses like M.A., M. Com., or a P.G. course in Pharmacy etc?
Secretary — Any institution without financial support from other agencies cannot run courses which are not self-sufficient. This year we have introduced M.Sc. Chemistry and M.Sc. Mathematics. We hope to start some other courses like M. Com., M.Sc. Biotechnology and M.Sc. Physics.
Nivedita – Sir in your opinion, how is RBVRR Women’s college different from the other degree colleges of our state?
Secretary– I cannot say we are different, but we are better in many respects from Government Colleges. I think the students are in a better position to tell whether the college is functioning properly or not. In Government colleges there is a lack of supervision. So, probably on account of supervision, we are better in respect of functioning as far as Government and other colleges are concerned.
Nivedita – Sir, the scholarship that the distressed sections of women are awarded, are not sufficient for them to pay their college fee, examination fee, Hostel and Mess fees and their books. Are the college authorities taking up any relief measures to provide them free education, free hostel and Mess facilities?
Secretary – As far as Intermediate is concerned, the education is free. We are charging less fees to the undergraduate students compared to the other educational institutions. As it is, we are running in loss in conducting the self-finance courses, the fees which we are collecting is not adequate and we cannot raise the fees. So, at the moment there are no plans to provide free education neither in the college nor in the hostel. Our hostel charges less fees than any other colleges, compared to the facilities that we provide.
Nivedita – The introduction of additional courses like Tourism and Hospitality Management etc. have provided a sense of direction and an ambition of a career for many. Your valuable piece of advice to these aspirants, sir!
Secretary – The students should take advantage of the facilities that are being provided and they should also give suggestions on what other courses need to be introduced in the college. We are thinking of starting a diploma course in Medical Transcription which provides a lot of job opportunities. If the students feel that there are courses other than this which can help them in procuring better jobs and comfortable salaries, then they should suggest these advantageous courses to the management. We will certainly take steps in that direction.
Nivedita – What guidance would you give to the aspiring civil servants?
Secretary – A Civil servant should work with the motive to serve the country selflessly.
Nivedita – Sir, is it possible to appoint a lecturer in our college who would train students to appear for competitive exams?
Secretary – We’ll certainly have a center to provide guidance to students who opt for competitive exams like the Civil Service Exam, provided there are sufficient number of students who come forward with this demand.
Nivedita – Sir, is there any thing interesting from your personal experience that you would like to share with us?
Secretary – I will tell you why I am continuing to serve this institution and my personal interest behind it. My father hails from an agricultural middle class family. He was the only son to his parents and lost his mother when he was about 7 or 8 days old. My grandfather brought him up with such love and affection that he was not even interested in sending my father for higher education. But due to his hard working and intelligent nature, my father went to a nearby Taluk. My grand father introduced him to a Muslim teacher who, in turn, took him to meet Raja BahadurVenkata Rama Reddy. Raja Bahadur took an instant liking towards my father, admitted him in the hostel on a scholarship and even provided him with clothes from the hostel. Once, my father fell very ill in the hostel. Though the doctors gave Raja Bahadur some hope, my grandfather insisted on taking him to the village. While Raja Bahadur had faith in the medical facilities available in the city of Hyderabad, my grandfather was not very hopeful of his survival. Raja Bahadur was the Commissioner of Police in those days and said to my grandfather that if he not leave immediately to his village, he would have him put behind the bars. Raja Bahadur admitted my father in Osmania General Hospital and requested the Superintendent take special care of my father. Due to Baja Bahadur’s efforts my father’s health improved. My father felt that he owed his life to Raja Bahadur. That is why throughout his life, he had been serving the institutions started by the Raja Bahadur. If Raja Bahadur was not there, perhaps, even I would have remained as any other ordinary and uneducated person in my village. So, with that obligation and with a motive to show my gratitude to Raja Bahadur, I am very keen to serve this institution and I want to do so for as long I can.
Nivedita – Sir, thank you very much for the wonderful interview.
Secretary – Thank you, too.