The administration of Patna university (PU), the country’s seventh oldest university, is counting on the participation of prime minister Narendra Modi in its centenary year celebration later this year, to give a leg up to its hopes of acquiring the status of a central university.
The PU administration has already taken the Bihar government in the loop in the matter, with the university’s newly appointed vice-chancellor, Rash Bihari Prasad Sinha, having met chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday, to discuss the matter.
“The invitation to the prime minister will be sent to his office on Monday (May 15), with the knowledge and tacit support of the state authorities, including the offices of the CM and the chief secretary, with a copy to Raj Bhawan, as well”, the VC told HT.
Sinha said the CM had endorsed his plan for inviting the PM. “Though PMO had been approached earlier also, now we will do it afresh and send an invite on Monday. A copy of the invite will also be sent to Raj Bhawan, CM office and the chief secretary. The CM wants a detailed programme for centenary year celebration,” he added.
The centenary celebration of the university is being planned for September, this year.
Set up in 1917, PU entered its centenary year on October 1, 2016, but no celebration programme was finalised at the time, as the term of the then VC, Dr YC Simhadri, was nearing its end. Now, a grand show is planned with the new VC at the helm.
The VC said the CM encouraged him to make the celebrations a memorable event as the university, despite its indifferent standing at present, had an illustrious past that few could match.
Singh said the CM, himself an alumni of PU, also suggested that the history department of PU be roped in to hold seminars on the university’s contribution in the freedom struggle and document it. “He also called for documenting the contributions of Patna Science College, which has been functioning independently since 1928 when its foundation stone was laid by Lord Irwin,” he added.
The move to rope in the PM for the celebration is significant in the light of PU’s old demand for central university status. It was also one of the reasons why the new central university had to be shifted to Gaya, though it resulted in happy ending with Bihar getting another central university at Motihari also.
But considering that neighbouring UP has four central universities, PU is still keeping its fingers crossed.
PU functionaries are hopeful that PM Modi will announce its conversion into a central university, if he attends the celebrations. They recalled that PU had started as a central university in 1917, but it was taken over by the state government after independence.
PU’s claim for central university has the backing of the present political leadership also. Chief minister Nitish Kumar himself spoke in favour of PU quite a few times from different public fora. “Patna is for PU. Sooner or later, it has to be converted into a central university. I will give adequate land to PU,” he had said at a function.
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.
“A hundred year’s journey is a big occasion for any institution. The PM’s participation in the celebrations will help turn it into a grand show. The response of the CM is very positive,” said the incumbent PU VC.