A Tribute to Sh. Gian Chand RampalShri Gian Chand Rampal was born on 23rd May 1923 in District Hoshiarpur, Punjab. He was theyoungest in the family. He nearly lost his eyesight as a young child but a regular medical treatmentdue to the persistent efforts of his father, accompanied by divine intervention from Ma ChintapoorniDevi, he regained his eyesight. From that age of roughly eight years, he never looked back. Healways stood first and won scholarships from class VIII. He went on to study in the prestigiousForeman Christian College, Lahore. The day he completed his post-graduation (in Hons), thePrincipal, an American pastor appointed him as a Lecturer in the same college. Professor F. W. Rice,an American strongly recommended his case for studying abroad. However, those were turbulenttimes and the country was divided into two. He boarded a train to Delhi and travelled on the roof top paying a premium to enter Delhi. He hadstarted with four shirts, two trousers, one blanket and a shaving set. He had no house and evenvolunteered to sleep outside the house of a family from his hometown during the winter of 1947 asthe house was full of refugees. From 19th November to 8th December 1947, he moved from oneoffice to another in search of a job. Finally he got a job at Hindu College, DU, Kashmere Gate, wherehe was appointed for an initial period of eighty days. He continued to teach in Hindu College till1988. He taught Botany and Zoology. Later he only taught Botany to Premedical, Botany (H) andZoology (H).He got married on Basant Panchmi day to Bimla Rampal, whose elder sister was alreadymarried to his first cousin, a Doctor of Medicine.Apart from teaching, he was a keen sportsman and was Presidentof the Boat Club. The Boat club was set up under the auspices ofVice Admiral Kataria of the Indian Navy. When the Hindu Collegemoved from Kashmere Gate to DU campus, he left the Boat Club.The Boat Club was dissolved soon after his departure.After the 1962 debacle, he also signed up for military training andearned his commission from the prestigious Rajputana RiflesRegiment Centre in Delhi. He later rose to the rank of Major inNCC and attended several NCC camps and even did short stints atthe border. He passed a rock climbing course from the Indian
Army Rock Climbing Training Centre inPorander, 40 Kms from Pune.He was instrumental in setting up a RifleRange in Hindu College. His score in Rifleshooting was amongst the best. He was verypopular even with the students he did notteach due to his various extra-curricularactivities.He was an ardent lover of plants and setup the Botanic Gardens in Hindu College.The college used to win nearly all thetrophies in the DU flower show when he was the garden in-charge. Several pine trees aretestimonials of his presence forever in the DU. He imported several acorns from the USA andplanted the White Oak Tree, a tree native to the Americas in Vaishali. As per a Red Indiancustom this tree spreads happiness and joy around it. White oak is the official state Tree ofIllinois after selection by a vote of school children. The white oak is also the state tree ofConnecticut and Maryland. His student Prof B.P. Saxena, an ardent cactophile with the largest cacti collection in the world is a living example of his love for plants that he imparted to all his students. He never allowed even his children to pluck flowers as he said flowers are meant only for prayers to God. Araucarias and Junipers thrived under his hand as he cared for them. He also did research on the plant Amanita muscaria with Professor G. S. Paliwal as his guide. It was used as anintoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in thesecultures. The Soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India is considered to be the same plant.His students are prominent doctors, engineers, army officers, teachers and lecturers. Some of hisstudents attained the highest echelons in the medical profession and they had no hesitation inmaking him sit in their chair whenever he visited them. His son saw it with his own eyes. Some of theprominent doctors areDr. J.S. Bajaj, Former member, Planning Commission, President Emeritus, Diabetic Council of theWorld.Dr. N. N. Sood, prominent eye surgeon of AIIMSLate Dr. L. K. Bhutani, a dermatologist.Both Dr. Bajaj and Dr. Bhutani were made members of the Royal Society of Medicine in return fortheir exceptional contribution to the Medical Science.He was a great fan of Mirza Ghalib and used to enjoy reading and reciting the poet’s verses.
He had visited the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and was so impressed by its magnificence that henamed his eldest daughter, Meenakshi.He was an admirer of Abraham Lincoln and when he had the opportunity to visit his youngerdaughter in the US, he visited Gettysburg. He got himself photographed under Lincoln’s statue andbought Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg speech printed on parchment paper.His knowledge on the miracles of Indian herbs was immense and he would always advise people ontheir medicinal values.He served the Vaishali Resident Welfare Association as Secretary for some years. He used to beextremely busy at that time working for the society.He was always a loving father, an extremely loving grandfather and hardly ever scolded any of us.Yet in his own way, he remained a strict disciplinarian and all of us grew up with a sense ofresponsibility.He has left a vacuum in our lives now and we will miss him a lot. Home will never be the same again.Missing in the picture below are Maneesh and Nidhi and Keya and Kimaya. The two K’s were noteven born at that time.