The Telegraph
Thursday , October 4 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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When death parts, love gets embossed on gold medal
- Widower pays unique tribute to psychology professor wife’s commitment to teaching with yearly prize for topper

She taught what made human beings tick. He taught how atoms and molecules behaved or misbehaved. But though their subjects were poles apart, their unique love story has survived beyond her death.

Amal Chakravarty (76), a retired chemistry professor of Ranchi University, has decided to honour his departed wife Geeta by instituting a gold medal, starting 2012, for the postgraduate topper of psychology, a discipline which the lady taught generations of students at the same varsity.

“My wife passed away last year,” the frail Chakravarty, a resident of North Office Para, Doranda, whispered.

Though the chemistry professor knew this autumnal loneliness couldn’t be conquered, he tried to make it bearable by keeping his wife’s memory alive.

“She was a committed teacher who pushed her students to excel. She used to be so happy when they did well. So I thought the best way to remember her was to institute a gold medal in her memory. Our sons Ujjwal Bhaskar and Sajal agreed. We are calling it the Geeta Chakravarty Memorial Gold Medal Award,” said the widower, a touch of pride in his voice.

Both Ujjwal Bhaskar, an MTech from BIT-Mesra now working with SAIL in Ranchi, and Sajal, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus running his own enterprise in Bangalore, took to numbers from childhood, unlike the theories of Jung and Freud, their mother’s mainstay.

“But the moment they heard my plan, they loved the idea,” said the professor.

With a brief smile, he added he had already gone shopping for the gold medal. “I’ve already ordered the gold medal from a reputable jewellery store,” he said. “The event is on Sunday, October 7.”

This year, the proud recipient of the award would be Shama Parween, the varsity topper of MA in psychology.

The professor, who retired way back in 1996, is arthritic, but he distributed the cards, purchased the gold medal and met people in the run-up to the October 7 event at Mecon Community Hall, Shyamali. “RU vice chancellor L.N. Bhagat will preside over the function, which will see presence of eminent personalities. I am sure Geeta would have approved,” he said, with unflagging energy to the cause.

The present head of psychology department at the varsity, Rekha Tripathy, is a student of Geeta Chakravarty. “I am really happy and touched to know about this tribute to my late and beloved professor,” she said.

“I have many plans,” said an indefatigable Chakravarty. “I’ve decided to support a series of Geeta Chakravarty Memorial Lectures where eminent psychology professors from across the country will visit Ranchi University for lectures. And yes, a scholarship in her name for needy and meritorious students,” he added.

Recalling together times is painful for the surviving spouse. Chakravarty only said: “I joined RU in 1960, my better half in 1964. She was a fine human being and teacher.”

He prefers his actions to speak, instead.

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