Our Institute’s History
07 August, 1986
The Historic Picture: The First Raising Day of NIT Hamirpur
Today is a day to celebrate—a day to reckon with but I am really sorry that no one cares to even remember of the importance of this day! This is the day when the present NIT Hamirpur, the then REC Hamirpur, was inaugurated. I don’t know how many of you remember of this historic day. I owe it to this day whatever we have today in the present. This post is a humble way of paying homage to all those who have in one way or another paved the way for our present!
7 August, 1986
The year was 1986 and the day was 7th of August when the then Chief Minister Raja Virbhadra of Himachal Pradesh inaugurated the first Engineering College of the state. It was a proud moment for all the Himachalis who had been waiting for this momentous and historic day! The Picture above shows the first Principal of the college Dr. R. C. Chauhan delivering a speech at the historic moment.
The classes for the Regional Engineering College, Hamirpur, were initially started at Government Polytechnic building, Baru Hamirpur who were magnanimous enough to provide us with a few class rooms and space in their hostel for the First batch boys as well. We all knew about the campus being developed at Anoo, which was at that time a thick jungle full of pine trees. Such was the ambience that people were afraid of walking alone through the jungle and the grassland that were bountiful in this place.
It was in the year 1987 that some small buildings were constructed at this new campus and we were really elated as now we had a place of our own! Vivekananda block was the first building to come at what we call the NIT campus today. The small three rooms, single storied structure, in red bricks, captivated our heart. Could any building be more beautiful—red tin roof and surrounded by lush green pines—the best setting for an academic ambience!
I was so happy to see the building where I would be, henceforth, taking the classes of the First year students. Even students were so happy as they were the kings of the jungle they inhabited in. I call it jungle as there was no road, electric lamp posts and the entire modern infrastructure that you today take for granted on the campus.
The access to this Block was from the road that connects Hamirpur to Awahdevi as there was neither the Check post No. I nor the Check post No.II or any interconnecting roads. We would take HRTC bus from the bus stand and would get down at a place somewhere near to the present day Sports ground and would walk through meandering jungle paths to reach this place. Many a times the HRTC buses would not stop at this point and we would have to walk for a long distance to reach the campus. Then a bus stop came up at this place and I remember the words “on request” written on the sign board. We felt so happy as this sign board heralded a recognition for REC so far as the HRTC’s local bus routes were concerned! Not a mean achievement keeping in view the number of passengers that availed this Bus stop!
It was while walking towards the Vivekananda Block, in a single-line as the jungle path provided only this much width, that we saw the remnants of the burnt logs of wood and our enquiry from the local people revealed the fact that the place we walk through everyday was in fact the cremation place for the local people. You can imagine our state of mind—it sure was horrifying. I could not sleep that night thinking of all that I had heard about the cremation grounds! The girl students also felt horrified as they, too, had to take the same route. Looking at the present scenario, I really think—we have come a long way indeed!
But apart from these small happenings, life at this new campus was blissful. Sitting out in the open, after the class, I remember having read a good number of books as there was nothing to distract attention. And the relationship with the students was at its best perhaps for the reason that we sought their companionship and they, in turn, sought our companionship as human company was the most difficult thing to be found in that jungle!
There was a tea shack, housed in a small room, which catered to our needs for some refreshing beverage! It sure was fun sitting there and discussing and dreaming about the good days to come when we would have a better place to sit.
The buildings coming up gradually and Vivekananda Block still stood proud and erect where classes were regularly held. The Tagore Block housed our library. It was a library in the pure sense as the setting was perfect where silence was not enforced but was a part of the ambience—the overall ambience of the environment!
More to come under this nostalgic journey backwards…