AN INTELLECTUAL GIANT– DR. MADHU PRASHAR, STATE & NATIONAL AWARDEE
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso
Indeed, one would begin to believe and have faith in what has been said above if one was lucky enough to meet the person concerned here. This saga that is being narrated today is as vast as the limitless sea. It is an epic, an epic about a hero of the cause of humanity; a person who is truly inspirational in the sense that she abides by life’s principles, lives a life of discipline, has her priorities clear, envisions the seemingly impossible, has the determination to transform it into reality; she puts her words into actions, actions that make her come full circle with her thoughts and miracles begin to happen. Such is the charisma of her personality, such is the will by which she abides. She is a living legend in herself, one who inspires not merely by words but by what she does and how she does it – she is none other than the extremely revered and loved Principal of Dev Samaj, Dr. (Mrs.) Madhu Prashar. Those who have not had the pleasure to, will never understand what they have missed in life. Similarly, those who haven’t met Dr.Prashar will never understand what has gone amiss. They will never understand, what it means to truly live your life, and not merely breathe through it. She is a living example of what it means to have made your life worth-living. She has made every breath count and count in a way that she has modelled, chiselled and polished innumerous lives making them worth their existence.
As a person of progressive outlook and tough temperament Dr. Prashar nurtures a yen to take up things that are challenging and stare her in the face, demanding attention. As she joined in as a Principal, DSCW; the responsibility of one of India’s oldest Institutions – a pioneer in Women Education came upon her shoulders and she found herself a witness to a crumbly building with a few courses to offer and even fewer students to attend them. Dr. Prashar made DSCW and its motto and motive the aim of her life – tireless, endless efforts, days and days of travelling, meeting people, forwarding her proposals, seeking collaborations, seeking grants; with an undying spirit each day, when the body gives up but the will and spirit fuel; she continuously worked on the principle of a true karamyogi. Under her progressive leadership, as a tireless worker, a great visionary, a zealous missionary, a dynamic leader and a very innovative Principal, the college is sure to fulfill the dreams of its founding fathers and has scaled unprecedented heights by becoming India’s No.1 College with the status of College of Excellence. Virtually, she has played an exceptionally significant role in reshaping, restructuring and reorganizing the education system in this border area of Punjab. The evolution from then to now and the transcendence, is evident in the glorious last 26 years of her administration. The metamorphosis is humongous.
She has been amongst the few Indian women academicians who has made a mark in the field of women empowerment here at Ferozepur by making DSCW a World Class Centre of Excellence. She has spent 43 years in the field of academics out of which 26 years have gone into the reconstruction and regeneration of DSCW with its transformation into a stronghold of women emancipation. She came to the forefront with the zeal of a revivalist and pledged to uplift women from the quagmire of the conservative society and lend dignity, esteem and equal respect to them. A great visionary and a social reformer, she galvanized into action with the colossal commitment towards the cause of women empowerment with the view to usher in an equitable world of opportunities particularly for the women. She wanted to pull out the women from the swamp of orthodoxy and conservatism. As a great visionary and a dedicated social reformer, Dr. Prashar is rightfully of the opinion that education of women can be the only remedy against the social atrocities and tyrannies perpetrated upon them. Therefore, she waged a crusade against the prevalent notion of the male-dominance and fought with her full might and mane to educate women who were otherwise previously relegated to the corner.
Due to Dr. Madhu Prashar’s constant and copious contributions in the educational arena, particularly in the backward border area of Ferozepur, she has been the recipient of many distinctions, awards & honours of National and International repute. The Governor of Punjab nominated Dr. Prashar as an honorary member of the Consumer Forum for five years in the year 2001. Apart from this, she has also been endowed with the awards such as the Best Teacher, the Best Principal, the Woman of the Year 2002 by the American Biography Institute, Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Rattan Award on Women’s Day, Manukhta Di Dhee Award by an international society. Recognizing her contributions in the educational field, the Vice President of India Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari nominated her as the fellow of Panjab University in the year 2009. Dr. Prashar is the first woman Principal of Punjab who, in recognition of her outstanding contributions, has been decorated with the State Award by the Chief Minister of Punjab in 2013. The Women & Child Development Ministry, Government of India has conferred upon her the Zila Mahila Samman Award in 2014, the first such award to a Principal in India. Baba Farid Society, Faridkot bestowed her with a life time achievement award- Bhagat Puran Singh Service to Humanity Award in 2015. She has delivered several prestigious National and International academic guest lectures at U.K., Japan, Turkey and Scotland. Due to her services, she has the honour of being the member of various Boards and Committees of Panjab University – Academic, Sports, Development; NAAC Peer Team; Advisory Board and Board of Studies etc. Keeping in view her loyalty, Dr. Prashar has also been inducted as a Councilor in the supreme body of Dev Samaj Society.
The vision clock of her journey, since the year 1992, when Dr. Madhu Prashar joined DSCW has seen her evolving. She has always felt that honours and positions conferred upon her as a result of her meritorious achievements are not the things that can be used as decorations, they bring along with them immense responsibility which has to be lived upto. She keeps on envisioning for a better tomorrow by transforming how conventionally people think and act, molding their bent of mind with logic towards a more progressive and pragmatic approach. Ulysses, the legendary Greek hero after the very dearly bought Trojan Victory, left for his longest odyssey. He told his fellow beings “I have become a name; for always roaming with a hungry heart”. Dr. Madhu Prashar is never satisfied and always looks forward to the tryst with the golden hours of tomorrow, imitating the sun itself that starts on its upward journey across the skies, never looking back but ever climbing towards the zenith. Her dreams are the seedlings of reality. She continuously tries to return to the society what she has got. Her relentless efforts find her campaigning for women education in villages, visiting the remotest places, trying to reach those areas, which are so backward that they hardly conform to the modern world. Not only has she made education her aim but has also been creating awareness and promoting rehabilitation of society, culture and community by taking upon herself the onus of proposing reforms related to grave matters of concern. This is the core reason behind her being able to emancipate women and girls so that they become independent and self-reliant in every sphere of life. She feels proud that her resolution for education in the area and around has helped her inevitably engulf these traced areas of concern and deal with them significantly. She has transformed the face of education not only at Ferozepur but in India as a Nation in the most radical way.
Dr. Madhu Prashar’s name has become an icon. She has her life infused with action. She does not wait for the things to happen, she makes them happen. Day and night, sleeping or waking, she has been dreaming of opening up new horizons in the field of education. Most of the educationists of national and international repute who have perceived her contribution in empowering women proclaim that no other woman in the entire country has brought about such a revolution in the field of women education, providing access to quality education to the girls of this nondescript town and thereby altering the lives of so many hapless women into a beautiful tale of success and prosperity. The greatest contribution Dr. Prashar has made in her life is the legacy of her devoted work, which in the form of DSCW has become the most distinguished center of learning in modern India. It is her life’s wish that she sees DSCW transform into a center of women education that is not only nationally but internationally recognized as a distinguished institution of learning imparting value-based education with innovative practices. It is an institution that sees globally acclaimed institutions emulating it. Dr. Prashar will not rest her oars till she materializes her dream. This is turning imagination into reality. Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”. Well, there is a third, to create life’s miracles. This is what this indomitable woman has the mettle for creating miracles.