Patna University counting upon a grand centenary year celebration to relive its golden era

When it came into being on October 1, 1917, the jurisdiction of Patna university (PU) extended not just to Bihar but also to Odisha and Kingdom of Nepal, a testimony to its eminent position as an institution of higher learning in the Indian sub-continent.

With just six months to go for completion of 100 years of its existence, PU is counting upon a grand centenary year celebration – something like the centenary celebration of Gandhi’s Champaran satyagrah of 1917, to relive its golden era and get itself back on the rails.

PU teachers’ association (PUTA) newly elected president Randhir Kumar Singh wants either the President or the PM to grace the centenary show. “The presence of such high dignitaries may just turn out to be a turning point for PU, which has fallen upon bad days”, he said.

“Today PU is functioning with just 277 teachers against the sanctioned strength of 815. We urge the government to clear the backlog and provide infrastructure support to let PU recapture its lost glory,” he said. The event might even further the PU’s quest to acquire the status of a central university, he added.

Earlier this month, acting PU VC Sudhir Srivastava set up a centenary celebration committee to plan out the celebrations. “That no celebration has been organised so far for the seventh oldest university in the country is a sad commentary on the state if affairs”, said Nawal Kishore Choudhary, ex-principal of Patna college.

However, it seems the actual responsibility for the celebrations will lie on the shoulders of the new vice-chancellor of PU, who is expected to be announced very soon, along with the new VCs of Nalanda Open University, Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University and Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga University.

Former Nalanda University VC Rash Bihari Prasad Sinha, who earlier served as principal of Patna College, is among the three shortlisted candidates for PU VC’s post. The other two are former TM Bhagalpur University VC RS Dubey and Veer Kunwar Singh University (Ara) former pro-VC Leelachandra Shaha.

The announcement will be made only after Bihar governor-cum-chancellor of its universities, holds consultation with chief minister Nitish Kumar and education minister Ashok Choudhary. “This may happen in a few days,” said an official.

PU was established by an act of Imperial Legislative Council passed on September 23, 1917 that came into force on October 1, 1917 when JG Jennings took charge as its first VC. It has had on its faculty eminent historian RS Sharma and linguist Kapil Muni Tiwari.

Among the notable PU alumni were Bihar’s first deputy CM Anugrah Narayan Sinha, former Lok Sabha speaker Baliram Bhagat, sixth chief justice of India BP Sinha, socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan and former Delhi Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna.

Though the university has witnessed academic slide due to huge vacancies and frequent troubles, its legacy remains enviable.

Source: Arun Kumar, HT