The closest thing we have to a time machine is a camera. We always take a moment of pause amidst our doom scrolling whenever a ‘Then vs Now’ picture appears on our feed and the ones we relate most to are the ones about college life. These pictures are not just reflections of the students’ lives over the years, they also tell thousands of stories behind those places in the photographs. It’s just so fascinating to look at the old pictures and imagine the history of the buildings, the gossip in the canteen, the late-night parties in the dorm rooms of the years gone by.

The Print

So, we decided to do a photo series and in our first chapter, we looked at the pictures from the early days of India’s one of the best colleges, IIM Ahmedabad, and compared them with the pictures of the modern day.

1. The Building

The heritage red brick building is an integral part of the IIMA identity and was constructed by American architect Louis Kahn. However, in the initial days, the ATIRA (Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association) building was used for the classes as Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was associated with both institutes.

2. Library

IIMA possesses the humongous Vikram Sarabhai library, with zillions of books and their well-preserved archives. But the humble beginnings had a small library as shown in the picture.

3. Hostel Building

The first batch of students in 1964 stayed in flats at Gujarat Housing Board and attended classes in ATIRA. After the campus was built, students started staying in the iconic building with large circular windows.

4. Dorm Rooms 

Students at IIMA are provided with single-room dormitories with provisions for flats for married students.

5. Convocation Area

The famous convocation day pictures from the Louis Kahn Plaza are such a joy to watch. But this iconic area was built only in 1974, before which the ceremony used to be held on a different lawn which is a children’s corner nowadays.

6. Sports Grounds

We all know about the rigorous study schedule the students of IIMA have to go through. But amidst all the hectic classes and assignments, students do have their recreation time on the sports ground. In fact, the popularity of sports there can be known by this line from their website, “In fact, there was a time when some members of our staff were recruited because of their footballing prowess!”

7. Classrooms

The semi-circular classrooms with the students’ nameplates on them instantly make them recognizable as the classrooms of IIMA. The structure of the earlier classrooms in the ATIRA building was a lot different than this.

8. Auditorium

The iconic RJ Matthai Auditorium was named after its first full-time Director and was inaugurated in 1997. The picture on the left is from their inaugural function in 1964.

9. Admin Office

In the early days, the administration temporarily worked out of the Shahibaug bungalow office. Now KLMDC and Forum Tower serve as the Admin building.

10. Canteen 

The canteen sizes might differ, but the hunger for excellence sure seems constant in both the pictures.

There is something about these black-and-white images of the past put together with the coloured photos of today. They fill us with a sense of intrigue and nostalgia. From past to present, the transformation of IIM Ahmedabad is not just about buildings and landscapes; it’s a story of progress, innovation, and the enduring spirit of excellence.

Which college do you want us to cover next?