Out of the 12 applications for the post of Principal of our College, the three front runners, as far of the Supreme Council are concerned, are Rev. Valson Thambu, the Officer on Special Duty who "acted" as Principal, Dr. M. S. Franks, the present Acting Principal and Dr. Shobhana Bhattacharya, who at present teaches in Jesus and Mary College and is the Reader of English there.
Others on the list include teachers from St John's College in Agra and Christ Church Kanpur apart from several other colleges.
Who is Dr. Shobhana Bhattacharaya and what is her association with our College?
I let my good friend, Deepak Mukarji, a grandson of the late Dr. S. N. Mukarji, an illustrious Past Principal of our College tell you about his second cousin:
Shobhana is arguably the most funny warm and intelligent of all my many cousins, who are all rather special in their own way.
She is the daughter of Principal S N Mukarji's fourth son (Nirmal).
My uncle Nirmal, ... God rest his soul ...., was in the nicest way a huge trial to all of us cousins who were constantly goaded to uphold his academic standards.
He never stood second in any examination and ended an illustrious career after retiring as the last ICS officer in India as Governor of Punjab.
A Christian man he was unswerving in his service to his country and his faith.
It is these qualities of hard work, faith in God and a sense of duty and fair play couched in warmth and understanding that Shobhana brings with her.
A PhD in English literature (the works and life of Byron was her subject), a much loved teacher for many years at Jesus and Mary College in Delhi and a wonderful daughter, wife and mother (and I am sure a doting grandmother), she is a lady with grace in everything she does.
A love of education comes to her not only from the Mukarji side but also from her maternal grandmother who was the iconic Mrs Constance Das of Isabella Thoben College in Lucknow.
Please do join the Mukarji family in praying that the Supreme Council of St. Stephen's agrees that she is the best candidate to steer the College through difficult times.
She will truly be an asset to life in the College and its Christian character of opening its arms to all who choose to pursue excellence with warmth and love.
The prestige of the College is in its open acceptance and embrace of all including divergent views and that in essence is what Shobhana embodies.
Need I add even one line or even an extra word to what Deepak says about his cousin?
I throw my prayers in the direction of Shobhana, someone I do not know, but whom I can identify with as I hope and pray that God will give her the strength to pull the name of our College out of the slime it has been through for the last two years!
But first we have to ensure the Supreme Council does its work and appoints this outstanding personality as the Head of our College.
So pick up your pen and write to every alumni you know to flood our Supreme Council to get this lady as our Head.
[P.S. Just by the way, Shobhana is a output from Miranda House, so she knows the behaviour of all us male egoistic Stephanians probably better than we know it ourselves! :-) ]