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History of The Patna University (1917-1967)
Importance of the Patna University Bill


        The high hopes which the educated people of Bihar entertained about the University to be established at Patna found full expression in the “Biharee” the leading journal of the new Province at that time. It wrote, “ We request our Government to establish the Patna University. We do so with the full knowledge that the University we shall get will be equipped with all the improvements that have made the Calcutta University so distinctly enviable in the eyes of the other Universities. We want a University which should be similar to the Calcutta University". But these high hopes were dashed to the ground by certain provisions of the original Bill introduced by Sir Sankaran Nair. Some of the strange provisions of the Bill were as follows:—

>> No educational institution shall be admitted as a college of the University unless the following conditions are complied with, namely, (a) the college buildings are situated within one mile from the Senate House of the University.

>>No educational institution shall be admitted as an external college unless the following conditions are complied with, namely, (a) the college buildings are situated in one of the following towns, namely, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Cuttack and Hazaribagh.

>>There was a sort of finality in the original Bill of the Patna University. There were three colleges in Patna at that time, namely, the Patna College, the Bihar National College and the Patna Training College. The Bill would allow an increase in the number of colleges in Patna if they were to be located within one mile of the Senate House, which did not exist at all at that time. No town excepting the four mentioned above was to have any college at all. Ramananda Chatterjee, the veteran Editor of the Modern Review and himself an experienced educationist, wrote in his comments in November, 1916 that Bihar and Orissa, having three-fourth of population of Bengal, was to have only one-seventh of the number of colleges existing in Bengal and that having more than three-fourth of the population of Madras it was to         have     less than  one-fifth of its number of colleges. He pointedly asked what had the towns of Darbhanga, Gaya, Monghyr, Chapra, Arrah,, Biharsharif, Ranchi, Dinapore, Bettiah, Sasaram, Jamalpur, Hajipur, Madhubani, Mokameh, Dumraon, Siwan, Deoghar, Buxur, Sheikhpura, Khagaria, Giridih, Katihar, Sitamarhi, etc., done to merit the punishment of being prevented from having colleges in future ? This list of towns, which according to the learned Editor of the Modern Review deserved to have colleges, reveals his prophetic vision about the course of expansion of higher education in Bihar. All the towns mentioned by him excepting Sheikhpura, have got colleges now, some having more than two or three centres of higher education in them. If Sheikhpura has got no college as yet, Barbigha, a place which is contiguous to it and which happens to be near the village home of the late Dr. Shreekrishna Sinha, ex-Chief Minister of Bihar has got a first grade college. In the speech delivered on the occasion of introducing the Bill Sir Sankaran Nair said that as the Monghyr College was a small and weak institution under private management it was proposed not to include it in the new University. The Bill thus designed to put an end to an existing college. This was certainly not in the interest of the advancement of higher education in Bihar. The people of Bihar, therefore, felt highly disappointed.

The increase of official control over the new University was another disappointing feature of the original Bill. It provided that "all new regula­tions or additions to the regulations or amendments to or repeal of regulations shall require the previous sanction of the local Government which may after the opinion of the Syndicate has been taken, sanction, disallow or remit the same for further consideration". A competent critic pertinently observed that “the bureaucratic method would introduce retrograde measures first in the provinces where public opinion was comparatively less pronounced than where it was more articulate”. He, therefore, considered the Patna University Bill as the thin end of the wedge. It was apprehended that the cause of higher education in India would suffer most seriously if she existing universities were to be fashioned after the model of the Patna University. It was this danger  which prompted the Indian National Congress to take up the consideration of the Bill at its memorable Lucknow session in 1916. Never before or since had a University Bill in any part of India been discussed at the forum of the Indian National Congress.

The Hon’ble R. P. Paranjapye moved a resolution which ran as follows: ''This Congress places on record its emphatic protest against the highly retro­grade character of the Patna University Bill and strongly urges that it should be so amended as to make it a fairly liberal and progressive measure.”  He
characterised the proposed Patna University Senate as a mere debating club as its decisions were not to be binding on the Syndicate. The Bill was criti­cised also for providing that the Syndicate would have a majority of official members, namely, the Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Public Instruction, four nominees of the Chancellor and five elected members from the staff of the Colleges which are mostly under the official control. Only three persons were to present popular opinion. The Vice-Chancellor was made an autocrat because a clause in the Bill said that "every power that was not reserved by a regulation to the Syndicate was to be in the hands of the Vice-Chancellor". Paranjapye further said that the colleges that were allowed to exist were practically nothing but glorified editions of High Schools. He added, "Are you going to condemn all the towns of the Province of Bihar and Orissa to a mere pass degree and that only if they are born at any of the few centres?" Dewan Bahadur L. A. Govinda Raghava Aiyar seconded the resolution and said that Bihar had protested against the Bill with one voice. He also ap­prehended that if the provisions of the Bill went unchallenged other University Bills relating to Dacca, Nagpur, and Burma might be framed on the same retrograde way. Dr. Nil Ratan Sarkar and Mr. Sachchidananda Sinha also condemned the Bill most severely..............



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