When he arrives here on October 14 to attend the main function of the centenary year celebration of Patna university (PU), prime minister Narendra Modi will become the first PM to attend a function of the seventh oldest university of the country.
University veterans recall the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, had visited Darbhanga house in 1948 to meet the then Darbhanga maharaj. However, at that time Darbhanga house was not part of PU.
“It became part of PU only in 1957”, said Jayshree Mishra, professor of History Department, PU who is preparing a souvenir on PU that has 12 chapters related to its glorious history andwhich will be released as part of the centenary year celebrations.
Nehru was also invited to Indian Science Congress that was held on PU campus earlier in the 1940s but he could not come. “As such, Narendra Modi will be the first Prime Minister to visit Patna University in his official capacity”, Mishra told HT.
The university was, however, gifted with several presidential visits. The first President of India Rajendra Prasad, in his official capacity, had attended the PU convocation in 1953 while the second President Sarvpalli Radhakrishnan in his official capacity, had visited PU in 1963 for the centenary year celebration of Patna College.
Moreover, the fourth President VV Giri had attended the golden jubilee celebration of PU in the year 1970. Technically, PU had completed its 50 years in 1967 but the celebrations were delayed to 1970 because of some controversy at the time.
This time also, the closing ceremony of centenary celebrations of PU, in January 2018, will attended by Ramnath Kovind, incumbent President of India and former governor of Bihar-cum-chancellor of PU.
In its early years, Patna University had a vast jurisdiction. There was a time it conducted matriculation examinations for not only the whole of Bihar but also of the neighbouring Himalyan kingdom of Nepal till it got its first university, Tribhuvan University, in 1959.
“The first and second vice chancellors of PU, JG Jennings and VH Jackson, had envisaged PU on the lines of Cambridge university in England. Just as Cambridge is located on the bank of Cam river, PU was set up of the bank of the Ganga so that students could study in scenic environs”, said Jayshree Mishra.
Mishra said, “The seven students who are shown in the martyr’s memorial near the Patna secretariat were students of Patna University. Students of PU also had participated in Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement and Jay Prakash Narayan Student movement.”
Talking about the chapter – Patna University and female education, she said, “Patna Women’s Training College is the only government women’s training college of Bihar. It was founded in 1951. It used to function on the campus of Bankipur Girls’ High School until which is the first government girls’ school in Bihar, founded in 1890.”
PU boast of such alumni as Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha (6th) and Lalit Mohan Sharma (24th) former chief justice of India, Lal Narain Singh, first attorney general of India and Balmiki Prasad Singh, present governor of Sikkim.