It was like any other Wednesday morning, apart from the fact that I knew that my class will be screwed for the mass bunk yesterday. I was having a bath when my room mate, Diksha knocked on the door and told me that Rana sir had expired and college was off for the day. I had my bath, came out and stood near the window and gazed at the Sushant building as I thought to myself while Diksha got ready.
We usually think of nature to be eternally stable. Well, somewhat. That’s what I had subconsciously assumed when we were addressed by Prof. Mansinh M. Rana, (the founder dean) during our 3 day long orientation and the founder’s day. A man worshipped and highly respected by the faculty and students alike, he was loved by everyone in the Sushant School of Art and Architecture.
He spoke to us with such enthusiasm which was unexpected from a 93 year old man. He was bound to his wheelchair but his dreams were flying way higher than we could imagine. I remember the alumni and seniors talking about how they feared meeting him at first but then found him to be a charismatic man full of passion for his work. I had never seen a man so frail, yet addressing 120 freshers without a mike (he didn’t prefer one) in his weak voice with the enthusiasm of a teenager. At that moment, I thought to myself, “This is one professor I’d like to interact with.”
But little did I know that time would run out so fast, for him and the last batch he welcomed.
Prof. M.M. Rana expired on 26 September 2012.
R.I.P. Rana sir.
A Biography of the legend on the official Sushant school of Art and Architecture website:
Prof. M.M. Rana has been Fellow of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (U.S.A.) from 1947-51. He has also been Fellow of the Indian Institute of Architects since 1970. From 1969-71, he was the Director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India, New Delhi. He has served as Chief Architect to the New Delhi Municipal Council – 1972-74 as well as Chief Architect to the ‘ Design Group’ and New Delhi Redevelopment Advisory Committee appointed by the Government of India for Re-Development of New Delhi – 1974. Prof. Rana was Chief Architect, Government of India between 1978-79.
He has been awarded the Civic Citation Award of “PADMA SHRI” in 1967 for his Design of Two Pavilions of India in New York and Montreal, Canada as well as for other Projects in New Delhi. Some of his well known projects include:
Bal Bhawan, New Delhi – 1953
The Buddha Jayanti Commemoration Park, New Delhi – 1956.
Transport Bhawan, New Delhi – 1958
‘Shanti Vana’, Samadhi of late Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India-1964.
Gandhi Centenary Celebration Exhibition, across Raj Ghat, New Delhi – 1969.
‘Amar Jyoti’ – at Rajghat – 1970.
‘Jawahar Jyoti’ , Teen Murti House, New Delhi. 1964.
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi 1973.
The Nehru Planetarium at Teen Murti House Complex, New Delhi -1980.
‘Three Battles of Panipat’ . ‘Kala Amb’ Memorial, Panipat, Haryana – 1984.
Prof. Rana was the Founder Dean of the Sushant School of Art and Architecture in 1989. He is PATRON of the Lutyens Trust, London U.K. (1997) which was established to protect the spirit and substance of Lutyens’ greatest work of Planning and building the city of New Delhi including the Rastrapathi Bhawan and other major projects in Great Britain and Europe designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. He is the only Indian and Architect to be a Patron of The Lutyens Trust. He is presently Dean-Emeritus of the Sushant School of Art & Architecture, Sector 55, Gurgaon.