The year was 1958. An institute named Maulana Azad Medical College opened its doors to some of its first batches of students in Delhi, on the historic grounds of what used to be a gory jail and hanging place for convicts/freedom fighters (depending on whose viewpoint one took), and turned these grounds to universally represent the noble cause of medicine. Fast-forward to the next 5-6 years and the college churned out its first few graduates. These graduates scattered all over the globe; like pearls released from a stringed necklace. They faced hardships and setbacks, tears and toil. They laughed and smiled through it all since they were young, energetic and full of dreams and the enthusiasm of youth. Over the years they all eventually found their niche. They married, had children, and built beautiful homes and prospering careers.
And so time went on, until one fine day they looked back and realized that some two decades had gone by since the string of pearls was released… where had the years flown? It was no fun trying to talk to ‘new found’ friends and acquaintances about the days of college…. they had not been part of it, and they did not relate to any of it the same way. One needed to get the pearls together and form the string again. And thus was born the desire for an organization to do just this, reminisce and be young again; and associations like MAMCOAANA came into being.
If this story sounds similar to the history and the reason for existence of other such groups, that’s because it is – alumni associations answer a very basic human need to share – and they only remain alive as long as people who feel this need participate in them. MAMCOS came into being in India, MAMCOS UK formed in the UK and MAMCOAANA happened in the United States.
A person named Jagdish Dang wrote the first letter on May 5, 1985 to call on all ‘Maulana Azadians’ for MAMCOAANA’s very first official get together. Another person named P. P. Dua suggested the name MAMCOAANA, and it stuck. Some years later the ‘Newsletter’ changed its name to ‘Sandesh’. Names like Bhushan Pandya, Vikas Khurana, Ashutosh Gupta, Bina Kapila, Nikhil Goyal, Ajay Goel, Bupesh Kaul and more came and went. Some argued that they were better than others; some others argued that they should get places of honor instead of being lumped as ‘more’, and yet others disagreed at times about the focus of MAMCOAANA and the style of the yearly reunions. And while the love, the fun, the disagreements and some ‘roothna manana’ continued, the association went from any medical bed to the intensive care unit and back. Indeed – names and places of honor – Whose names? Which place of honor? Do the names matter? Yes. Are some the only names that matter? No. You see, the names and ‘more’ would have died if the organization had not taken off in the first place – these names and ‘more’ exist in the history books because there is a history – of MAMCOAANA. No MAMCOAANA, no history book, and no gold and silver and copper lettering in that history book. For now MAMCOAANA exists… because its members keep the spark alive and feed the fire – no matter if it is love or strife – to keep it going. Kudos to MAMCOAANA, and kudos to its members for giving it life and its history!