Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dr. A. R. VENKITARAMAN writes ..........


Dear Sam,

Vasanthi and I are deeply saddened by the news of Prof.Paul L.Love's passing. He was a great professor who touched the life of every student who came to study under his direction. What a title that is for a teacher! He was also a very fine human being. American College is very fortunate to have had the services of such an illustrious man for 35 years. The College must foster the memory of Prof. Love by preserving and protecting the great monument that he has left behind at the College, namely SCILET, particularly in the way Prof.Love would have liked it to be preserved. 

May the beloved Professor's soul rest in peace. 

May the College where he served until his last breath be blessed.


Thursday, April 30, 2015


R.P. NAIR, Editor, Kavyabharathi, poetry journal of SCILET: 

He was the teachers’ Teacher. Some teachers convey information, some communicate well but the greatest teacher is one who inspires. He is one of the finest teachers I have ever come across. He is an institution builder. SCILET is a living monument of his efforts. He had a dream and he had made it into a reality. He combines qualities of courage and compassion.

PRAMILA PAUL, retired professor of English, 

The American College: We feel the loss so much because of all that we have gained from him. It was a rewarding experience to be with him. It is very difficult to follow his ways. His ability to forgive people is beyond understanding. He will always look for some redeeming feature in a person who had offended him. His love never excluded anyone. His non-hierarchical approach to people is commendable.

PAUL   ANBU, an old student

It’s hard to digest, my teacher, mentor, god father and above all a good friend has fallen. Dr. Paul Love who was Paulji to me was everything to me and to my family. He is the god-father to my children as well. He taught me everything. He taught me to walk, talk, breathe and exist. Above all he taught me and my family to be true human beings. He showed through his life the value of a true human being. I am glad to see he has developed hundreds of human beings like me in his eighty nine years of existence in this world. I join thousands of his students in paying homage to the great man. Paulji, you have successfully completed your mission in this world…. You have touched thousands of hearts… you have changed the lives of thousands… you have mentored thousands of students… you have created thousands of people in your mould. Good bye my Paulji…. Goodbye my friend… Good bye…

PAUL ANBU writes a personal mail to me.Part of it is here .........

Premila Paul called me and told me that he keeps asking about me and asking her to read the article I wrote in the book “Love in Madurai”. She said the situation is not very good and I should talk. So I talked to him. I asked him what he had for lunch and he replied soup. I reminded him about me cooking soup for him in the late 1990s when I used to stay with him and promised him that I will cook soup the next time I come. He asked me when I will be coming for which I told him December. With a sigh he said he is taking only one day at a time and December is too far…. My heart cried for him…. That was the last I talked to the great man….





Dr.Paul Linder Love is the kind of person all his students want to be. He always makes people feel good about themselves. And that is something nobody ever forgets.

He is an inspiration, a source of spontaneity and kindness, a living embodiment of his name. This teacher of English literature of six decades has influenced generations of students from the North to the South in a way that is beyond imagination.

At 85, he is loved and respected as much or even more by all those whose lives he has touched as a teacher, faculty, mentor, guide, friend or guardian. Ask for his comment on this love in abundance and his eyes twinkle, smile radiates and the voice gently says, “I am a keen observer of people and am in love with India.” But he does not decry anything American either.

That is quintessentially ‘Paulji’ or ‘Proffy’ as his students from different batches over the years call him – unpretentious, just and always himself. It is because of this sheer goodness and truthfulness, they say, that he attracts people from all over who then remain in permanent awe of him.

A whole lot of these emotions have been beautifully wrapped in 300-odd pages by his students, fellow colleagues and friends. Titled “Love in Madurai”, it brings out the English teacher’s life well lived because he did not just teach his students inside classrooms. He made them think and taught them to dream and love their work.

The texture of life in academy has its own share of ups and downs. But it is the satisfactions, frustrations, routines and disappointments to which a teacher prepares the student for life -- that is the most powerful aspect of educational responsibility. Dr. Paul Love scores a perfect 10.

He did his Ph. D from Northwestern University, Illinois, to become an English professor. But it was while studying Theology for a year in Connecticut that an introductory course on India that included readings from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and R.K.Narayan’s The English Teacher, made him value India. At 25 in 1954, he embarked on a 38-day voyage by a cargo ship to reach Bombay from New York. He went to Allahabad, swam in the Ganges. He went to Batala, a small dusty town in the hinterlands of Punjab because he was interested in teaching English to people with no opportunity. Punjabis opened their homes and hearts and he instantly fell in love with them.

After teaching for three years he went back to the US only to return in 1965 when Baring Union Christian College became the first institution in Punjab to start a Post-Graduate course in English. “I wanted to be in a level playing field and the then principal, Dr.Ram Singh was a wonderful leader who treated me equally,” says Paul of his association with the college for the next 15 years.

It was after much negotiation that the then principal Dr.M.A. Thangaraj, succeeded in bringing Paul Love to The American College, Madurai, once plans were afoot to start the PG programme in 1980. Like a true friend, Dr.Ram Singh not only let him go but even accompanied Paul Love to Madurai to help him settle down in a totally different culture!

While his smattering of simple Hindi got him around in Punjab, at 52 Paul was not really attuned to learning Tamil. He says he got busy in setting up a different PG programme by dividing the genres of literature and introducing separate classes on fiction, prose, poetry, drama instead of period history as done in all literature courses. Given his passion for books, he also set up a library. Upon retirement in 1986, he got involved in establishing SCILET, which over the years with members from all over India has emerged as a rich resource centre for Indian literature in English and translations besides conducting periodic workshops and meet the author events.

But at the core of all his activities remained the interest of the students. His residence within the campus called the Barton House would always be open to them. He would never make the students feel that they were the ‘taught’ but go along with them in the desire to question and know more.

Paul Love would check every answer sheet with such care and commitment that most of the times his corrections and comments would far exceed the answer written by the student! At the beginning of every class, he would give his students the freedom to leave if they were not interested in attending his lecture. But none would because learning with him was always an adventure, an exploration of the new worlds and giving wings to the imagination.

Even today students find him in his corner in SCILET, reading books and always available for help. He loves to write letters, he says. “The tone loses its warmth if you type. I send back home hand written messages on Christmas or any other occasion,” he smiles.

Now with so many people having written about him because they feel they owe it to him, there can be no better tribute than the bouquet of lovely articles.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015







A student’s tribute to Dr. Paul L Love, 

‘The English Professor’ 

at The American College, 

who passed away on April 24


The otherwise tranquil Barton House, where Professor Dr. Paul Linder Love resided, bustled with laughter and giggle of students. During exams, we would visit him as a ritual and he would treat us to fluffy tea-cakes and a steaming cup of chai . Amidst all the fun, he would advice us not to venture out on any culinary exploration and rather eat at his home where food was available for anybody anytime. Such was his concern for his students. It is hard to believe that he left us last Friday.
Looking back, I can only say that our teacher, fondly called as Proffy, was a personification of kindness. He never spoke much but whenever he did, he touched hearts, inspired minds and encouraged talents. Whenever we needed him, he was there for us. But for him, we couldn’t have afforded the expensive Arden Shakespeare editions. He provided us all the books on subsidised rates and if many of us could boast of our own libraries at home, it is because of our teacher.

Beloved Proffy was not known to hurt anyone. I can never forget the day when we students devoured the Chicken Biryani feast meant for some other guests of his. Fearing admonishment, we turned up late the next day. Surprisingly, we found a note under a plate full of tea-cakes which said ‘Please do justice’. Seeing our teacher’s munificence, we were left moist-eyed.

He always saw and found good in others. Even on the answer sheets, he would write down short comments which were highly enlightening. It became our study material for subsequent examinations. Though a master of the language, he was never for bombastic words. “Don’t use 100-dollar word in place of 10-Dollar word,” he would proffer.

Many, who came from humble families, turned to Proffy, the ever-loving patriarch of the department. He was a pillar of support for all, both mentally and financially. Once lent, he never accepted the money back and would instead advice us to support someone else in need. He expanded the circle of generosity amongst us.

We used to look forward to the four-day annual excursions to Kodaikanal with Proffy. He broke all the established notions of student-teacher relationship. Though we had the reverence for our inimitable teacher, we also saw a friend in him. He was an ideal not just for professors but also for young people like us. In fact, he cherished being among students. Young at heart, Proffy used to walk along with us from Bryant’s park to Pillar rock.

He brought in litterateurs to the college, whom we had only seen on book covers. Professor Paul Love was meticulous in whatever he did. He would faithfully follow his to-do lists to the T and never leave a job undone or half-done. A perfectionist that he was, Proffy had even planned his last journey. From what biblical verses should be read to who should be reading it, he had decided everything beforehand.

Dr. Love was someone who lived by his name. As love is pervasive and endless, so is our professor. He may have left us but the example he set is there for everyone to emulate. As per his will, he was given a simple loving send off. His memorial service will be held at The American College Chapel on May 2 at 5.30 p.m.



Monday, April 27, 2015





BY 5.30 ON MAY 2, 2015



Sunday, March 22, 2015




DHARUMI  AND  Prof. SAMUEL  LAWRENCE write .........

Now, what is more worrying is the way certain government agencies are letting down the college.

The Societies Registration Department seems to play a lead role in this nasty business of legalizing the illegal.  What they have been doing can be quickly summed up in three stages as follows:

i)                    When the Madurai District Registrar’s office was approached for certain documents relating to the college they said they had sent them to the Inspector General’s Office in Chennai to help the ongoing inquiry into the disputes regarding the Governing Council of the American College and would give the documents after the inquiry was over.
ii)                  While maintaining that the inquiry was not yet over they also stunned our friends by giving in writing that no document relating to the American College Governing Council was available either with the District Registrar’s Office, Madurai or the IG’s Office, Chennai.
iii)                As NO DOCUMENT IS AVAILABLE with the Registration department of the government they say they are going to get copies from the Society / Governing Council [apparently the one convened by Dr. Davamani Christober] and RECONSTRUCT the files on the American College!!!

It’s dizzying to see the ease and impunity with which people say such strange things in response to queries under RTI and still pretend that everything is all right, or, even if something is wrong no one is responsible for it.

Besides the repeated petitions from our friends to the authorities of the Registration department, our advocate has also sent a notice [dt. November 27, 2014] to  both the District Registrar, Madurai and the IG, Chennai stating: “Missing of records related to an 131 year old reputed educational institution in Tamilnadu from the office of the District Registrar and IG, Registration is shocking and unacceptable—that too when the society is under cloud”. The notice also asks the authorities to keep in abeyance the Form-7 presented by Dr. Christober alongside the proposed “reconstruction” of the American College files till issues relating to the governing council are settled legally.

Prof. Suriya Kumar and Dr. Rajendra Pandian attended the ‘Governing Council’ meeting convened by Dr. Christober on December 20, 2014 and reportedly raised several issues starting with that regarding its legality.

Dr. Anbudurai’s writ petition before the Madras High Court [with a prayer to direct the IG, Registration to finalize his report on the management dispute of the American college] was disposed of on Jan 20, 2015 without expected relief. However, the order acknowledges that our representation [dt. October 10, 2013] made to the IG, Registration is still pending and we are at liberty to approach the authority [once again] in this regard.

Despite Dr. Davamani Christober’s delaying tactics and court manipulation, the cases filed against the Principal and his Council are expected to gather pace.

We learn that yesterday Dr. Christober left for the US on an official trip. 
He, who literally broke into this office with the help of rowdy elements led by his father-in-law [Late Bishop Asir]; unleashed unprecedented violence on the protestors and their properties on campus; did and is still doing serious tamperings, manipulations and other illegal things in order to distort truth and make the retrieval of the college impossible, believes after all that he has the legitimacy to represent The American College!!

Do our valuable associates abroad who will be his hosts these days share that belief?


Thursday, January 22, 2015

J.V. ... A YEAR HAS PASSED ............

14.1.2015 – a year has gone since the demise of Prof. J. Vasanthan. He has left to us so much of his artistic wealth, mainly lovely and live line drawings.  The treasure cove was so high, nearly 2500 drawings. Of these 70 drawings were kept in an  art gallery for a weak, from 9th to 14th of January for the Madurites to see and enjoy. I have got some of them as photos and given in this post for you to enjoy.

In addition to the gallery, there was a meeting to refresh his memories in the evening of 14th at the Chamber of Commerce. 

A documentary on JV was at the end of this meet. It remains still a mystery why JV never even tried to popularise all his talents and works. Many of his art pieces, both his drawings and writings were so new to all.

Ashraf Bhagat, an art critic was able to recognize and appreciate JV’s art. Some excerpts from her note:

‘Works of JV are more than just lines.’

‘As a film critic he had prolifically critiqued cinemas in India and the West.’

‘ …. those layers of emotions that were stashed away deep within his subconscious never to be verbalized found a catharsis in his art particularly in the rendering of the countenances of ordinary being whom he encountered in his daily life.’

‘Vasanthan in his wide ranging cartoons, illustrations, and caricatures brilliantly captured the emotions and feelings, contextualizing within the political, social and cultural milieu in which they were situated.’


‘His delineation of faces whether it was of Christ, an old man or a poor farmer was enormously evocative and poignant, with eyes expressing deep pain and sorrow – an inevitable ubiquity read across most of his works.’

‘The pen and ink sketch of Gandhiji with his head bent over the walking stick is almost personalized and very poignant. …  This particular posturing evolved by Vasanthan conceals and reveals the magnitude of emotions in the body language.’



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I am fortunate to have three of his drawings with me. The one I have given here is the laminated picture of my elder daughter, drawn more than  35 years ago, always proudly reminding me of my good fortune for being a good friend of him for so long …………