Once again, it's not the globally famous IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) but the lesser-known Panjab University (PU) that has been rated India's best.
Released by the Times Higher Education (THE) on Wednesday, the BRICS and Emerging Economies Rankings 2014, world's first ranking for universities in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, plus 17 other emerging economies, places Panjab at 13, ahead of six IITs (Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Guwahati, and Madras).
In October, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14 had placed new entrant PU at top in India. In the ranking, the country is second only to China and Taiwan. Indian institutions make up 10% of the list, including nine top-50 places.
Indian representatives on the list are led by Panjab University (joint 13th), alma mater of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The IITs (Kharagpur (30th), Kanpur (34th), Delhi (37th), Roorkee (37th), Guwahati (46th), Madras (47th)), Jadavpur University (47th), Aligarh Muslim University (50th); and Jawaharlal Nehru University (57th) are next.
The 21 Indian universities that participated in the survey exclude Delhi University and IIT-Bombay. No university of Indonesia, the Philippines, or Pakistan figures on the list.
In Chandigarh, Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Grover was thrilled at the news. "We are India's fourth oldest university that has produced luminaries such as (scientist) Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar and (1968 medicine Nobel joint winner) Har Gobind Khorana," he said, rubbishing the allegation that the high rank was because the PM was an alumni. "We have so many politicians, academicians, and scientists as our alumni," he said.
The latest rankings affirmed that the university's fundamentals were good, said Grover, adding: "The new challenge will be to move forward and add to the strengths that have taken us to where we are now."
Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings, said: "This is a strong showing for India; only China and Taiwan have more universities in the top 100. However, India should aspire for more."