Mr.Kirunda Kivejinja is a veteran Ugandan politician and current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs of the central government of the Republic of Uganda. On January 25th 2010, he has visited his alma mater, Madras Christian College (MCC) after a gap of more than three decades. He visited the room no: 213 at Bishop Heber Hall in which he had stayed during his sojourn (1957-58) in MCC. Surprisingly, the room today belongs to Kiran Tom Sajan, one of my close friends and classmate. Excerpts from a candid talk with him…
How do you feel after reaching Chennai?
I feel like I have reconnected to the place of my intellectual birth. Chennai has gifted lot of memorable events in my life. The unique feature of Chennaites is that they give much importance to inter personal relationships. Today, as I can see Chennai has evolved a lot.
How was your life at MCC? How it shaped your intellect, career and life?
MCC life has stirred up my intellectual pulsation. It also offered me international exposure and made me confident. I learnt the basics of life and career here. Compulsory History and English lectures those days made my foundations strong. Long voyages I used to take those days to reach India made me tough. I was also blessed with number of long lasting friendship from this prestigious institution. It is also a matter of surprise that wherever I go, I definitely find a MCCian!
Can you brief about hall life those days?
Students are taught simplicity and love in hall culture. Bishop Heber Hall was undoubtedly the cheerful part of Madras Christian College. Those days we really had a real communion among residents and life was structured well enough for both studies and fun. Sports and hall days were celebrated with great enthusiasm besides Holi and Idli eating competition. The spirit of being a MCCian as well as a Heberian was really high those days.
Your opinion about India…
India is a unique as well as a diverse country. Personally, I still hold a strong attachment to India and her people. It is a matter pride that I was one among the scholars handpicked by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru himself. On the political side too, we owe a lot to this great country. It was from India we learnt how to fight for our freedom. It was India which gave us hope and support during struggling periods. In fact, we are looking for a south-south partnership.
You always emphasis the importance of Arts subjects…why?
Today’s world needs good leaders. I was a science student but the path I chose in life was entirely different. It was not what I studied which helped but the knowledge I gained from reading books apart from text books. Even in Uganda, more students are pursuing the technical courses than arts courses today. It is the level of knowledge and how we deal with fellow beings which make us stand out of the crowd.
What is your message to MCCians and youth in general?
Study everything you can study and learn as much as you can. Don’t stand among the crowd; always try to stand out of the crowd. Always remember to contribute towards the country, global community and future generation.