From Amarjeet Singh Kolhi'64 Mech, General Secretary of PECOBA
The oldest Alumnus of PEC, Sh Inder Sen Ahuja celebrated his 100th Birthday on Sunday, the 7th Feb, 2010 at his New Delhi residence. His family had organized a get-together in the morning. It was with great difficulty that I could persuade Mr IS Ahuja to allow me to meet him at his residence on his 100th Birthday. Due to the restrictions placed by Mr Ahuja, I could invite only Mr A. Arunkumar (Founder President, Pecoba-1962 Elect) and Mr Vijay Krishan Mehta (Chairman, Organising Committee, Pecoba-1961 Mech). Mr VK Mehta who had initially agreed to join could not make it at the last moment, having not fully recovered from his recent Operation.
Myself & Mr A. Arunkumar made it to Mr Ahuja’s house at about 11 am. We presented him a Bronze Vessel. It is said that water stored in a bronze vessel at night and drunk in the morning is a healthy thing. We left at about 11.55 am, as the family had organized a Yagya & the priest had just arrived. His son Pradeep Ahuja and daughter Pushpa Luthra, who both are now settled in Mumbai, had specially flown to Delhi to celebrate his 100th Birthday. As I did not see Mr IS Ahuja’s elder son Ravi who lives with him in Delhi, I asked where he was. Pradeep, his younger son, told that he was not well & will join later. Mr IS Ahuja jocularly remarked “The son is not well, but the father is OK.” Ravi’s children Sheena and Karan were actively supervising all the arrangements. Some photographs of the Function are enclosed.
Mr IS Ahuja who studied for Course B in Maclagan College of Engineering, Lahore left in Jan 1930 and joined the wireless branch of the Post & Telegraph Department of Govt. of India. Punjab Engineering College Chandigarh owes its origin to Maclagan College of Engineering, which was established in Lahore in 1921. Consequent upon the partition of the country in 1947, the then refugee students were temporarily transferred to Thompson Engineering College Roorkie (Now University of Roorkie) so that students could complete their education which was interrupted by the Partition of 1947. Thus was born the East Punjab Engineering College on December 1, 1947 with its temporary campus in Roorkie, UP. In 1950 the prefix “East” was dropped and it acquired its present name “Punjab Engineering College”, although it was still housed in the State of U.P. The College shifted to its present premises in Chandigarh somewhere towards the end of 1953. The first batch that passed out from PEC, Chandigarh was 1954. Many students studied partially in Roorkie and partially in Chandigarh. Similarly earlier, many students studied partially in Lahore & partially in Roorkie.
As stated earlier, Mr I.S. Ahuja started his career in the Post & Telegraph Deptt of Govt of India in 1930 & looked after the wireless communications which was then a part of P & T. In February 1947, he moved over to Civil Aviation Department of Govt of India. He has had a variety of postings including Rangoon (1930), Karachi (1934), & other places like Secunderabad, Calcutta, Bombay, Jatok (Shimla), Gwalior and Delhi in1947. Mr Ahuja went to Indonesia for nearly 3 years from 1951 to 1954 as Communication Adviser to the Govt of Indonesia on behalf of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Montreal, which is a part of UNO. In 1959 he was sent to Rome for nearly a month for important deliberations of ICAO. Mr IS Ahuja retired from Govt Service in 1963. Even after retirement, he was sent by National Productivity Council (NPC) to Japan in 1969 for nearly a month to see the developments in Small Scale Industry in Japan & make suitable recommendations to NPC.
After retirement from Govt Service in 1963, Mr IS Ahuja joined his younger brother AN Ahuja’s manufacturing concern “Ahuja Radios”, set up by AN Ahuja in 1940 in Okhla, New Delhi. Mr IS Ahuja who had rich experience in wireless communication from 1930 onwards, had earlier inspired his younger brother AN Ahuja to set up this business predicting a bright future of radio industry. I knew Mr AN Ahuja since 1970’s as he used to attend cultural programmes like Punjabi dramas, musical shows that I have been organizing since 1966 & have continued till today. I came to know about Mr IS Ahuja first through Mr AN Ahuja. Ahuja Radios today has 8 factories located in Delhi, Noida & Mumbai employing 700 engineers, technicians & skilled workers. It manufactures PA Systems and Equipment like amplifiers, mixers, cassette recorders, microphones, speakers etc. It sells its products through a network of 400 retailers in India. It exports to about 50 countries in 5 continents. Mr IS Ahuja remained with Ahuja Radios till 1980. Mr AN Ahuja’s children & Mr IS Ahuja’s children run Ahuja Radios now.
Mr Ahuja maintains a very strict regimen. I was meeting him after a lapse of many years as he had last attended Pecoba’s get-together many years ago at Rosebud Restaurant, near ITO, New Delhi. I remember that during his speech there he said “I understand that PECOBA stands for PEC Old Boys Association. I am delighted to know that after joining PECOBA, I am no longer an Old Man but have become an Old Boy.” I was pleasantly surprised to find the same joviality, the same spirit, the same sense of humour, the same physical & mental ability in him that was there two decades ago. On 7th Feb 2010, he narrated to me the details of his career (which I have listed above) effortlessly & with crystal-clear clarity, telling the month, year, place of his various postings, as if it happened yesterday. He could stand & move about in the garden without any stick or support. He cut jokes & has a terrific sense of humour. He can discuss about all technical & worldly matters with amazing alacrity. He is one of the humblest persons that I have come across in life. To give you an example, I was holding a plate of eats & trying to note address of one of his guests. He was standing next to me (without any stick). Seeing my difficulty, he took away my plate and held it till I had finished noting the address. This gesture really touched me to the core of my heart.