The Patna University (PU), which dates back to the British Raj, has decided to revive for its students over 30 pre-Independence scholarships, varying from Rs 2-15 monthly.
These scholarships, awards and fellowships were donated by rajas (kings) of erstwhile princely estates, landlords and academicians, to help poor and meritorious students.
Around 15 such endowment funds are defunct at the Patna College, and others at the Patna Science College, the BN College and other university departments.
Among some important scholarships, which are ‘dead’ for over 40 years in Patna College are the John Ambulance Association scholarship, Wilson memorial prize, Russel memorial fund, Durgawati memorial fund, RN memorial prize, AC Pandey scholarship, Deo Dutt Tripathi scholarship, Basawan Singh Chhattavritti and the Syed Kaji Raza Hussain Jayanti Chhatravritti.
The amount of these scholarships varied from Rs 2 to Rs 15 per month and those sponsoring them had deposited the endowment funds with post offices. While some donors offered Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 as endowment, others came up with larger amounts of Rs 1 lakh, said PU sources.
“Though the initial scholarship amount may appear too low today, the university is mulling to enhance the amount after updating accounts with interest accrued over these years, said Randhir Kumar Singh, head of the sociology department of Patna College and president of the PU Teacher’s Association.
“These are like heritage funds and must be protected and utilised properly,” he added.
Some of these scholarships were meant exclusively for students of a particular caste or community, while others were specific to toppers in different subjects and classes.
Prof Rash Bihari Singh, who was appointed as the PU new vice-chancellor (V-C) on April 29, has directed his officials to trace all old endowment funds, their bank accounts and donor details so that they could be revived. Among them was the scholarship, sponsored by eminent administrator and educationist Sir Ganesh Dutt in early 1930s.
Dutt had donated liberally to set up new departments at the Patna Medical College and the Darbhanga Medical College. He had even donated his house - ‘Krishna Kunj’ - to the PU. The Institute of Psychological Research and Service is presently housed there.
Talking to HT, Prof Singh said, “Principals of all PU colleges, heads of postgraduate (PG) departments and dean of students’ welfare have been tasked to trace out all such old endowment funds. Many scholarships have been discontinued due to lack of records.”
The V-C said he would also ask colleges and university departments to digitise records and old awards, mostly of pre-Independence era, as they were like heritage funds.
Established in 1917, the Patna University, with 30 departments, is the seventh oldest university of the Indian subcontinent. Ten colleges are affiliated into this university.