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


       The Bill had been referred to the then existing Universities for eliciting their opinion and Paranjapye informed the Congress that the Bombay University had already recorded their protest and they hoped that the other Univer­sities also oppose it.
In the Imperial Legislative Council itself eminent Indian leaders like Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Sir Chimanlal Sitalvad, Dr. Tej Bahadur Sapru, Shreenivasa Shastri, Sir B. N. Sharma, Bhupendra Nath Basu, Rai Bahadur Krishna Sahay and Mazhar-ul-Haque offered their valuable suggestions with a view to improving the provisions of the Bill. It was referred to a select committee consisting of Messrs. Lowndes, Sharp, Maclagan. Jennings, Walsh, Shreenivasa Shastri, Bhupendra Nath Basu, Mazhar-ul-Haque, Raja Rajendra Narayan Bhanj Deo of Kanika and Rai Bahadur Krishna Sahay. The Bill was amended rather radically by the Committee and presented by the Council on 5 September, 1917. It was taken up for discussion on 12 September and was finally passed into law next day. Mazhar-ul-Haque supported the passage of the Bill in its final form and said, "The Patna University Bill has reached the stage when it is going to be placed on the Statute Book of the land. It was a long cherished desire of the people of Bihar to have a University of their own and with the passing of this Bill into Law that desire would be fulfilled. I have no hesitation in saying that in many of its provisions this Bill is a great advance on the Indian Universities' Act of 1904 and it has been recognised as such by my Province." He concluded his speech by making the following observations: "As my friend, the Hon'ble Dr. Sapru has said, the success or failure of a University depends entirely upon the relations between the students and the professors. If the professors treat their students properly and with love and kindness the University is bound to be a success; otherwise it is sure to be a failure”.

The objects with which the University was to be established were set forth in the Bill as follows:

“The University shall be deemed to have been incorporated for the purpose, among others of making provisions for imparting education, of promoting original research, of examining students and conferring degrees, of admitting educational institutions to its privileges and of supervising and controlling the administration of colleges of the Univer­sity in all matters of education and discipline and of inspecting and supervising external colleges.”

We may now examine how far these objects have been achieved.
Even in its final form the Bill retained the idea of the central university site outside the din and bustle of the town. The proposal of shifting the centre of teaching from the Pirbahore area to Phulwarisharif was kept alive for more than a decade and then finally given up. In place of the Non-Collegiate Department with a Dean as its head as proposed by the

Nathan Committee, the Bihar National College was kept up as a non-residential institution. The Patna College was designed to be mainly a residential insti­tution, but this hope too was not to be fulfilled even after half a century of the existence of the University. The majority of the students prosecuting their studies in the Patna College and Science College still reside outside the campus of the University. Finally the Bill retained the second grade college at Monghyr as a recognised institution. It provided that second grade colleges might be opened without restrictions as to their location, but if any first grade college was to be set up at any place other than Patna, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Hazaribagh and Cuttack, sanction had to be obtained from the Government of India itself. This is why no first grade college was established anywhere in Bihar before 1939-40 when the Rajendra College, Chapra was granted affiliation up to the B.A. standard. On account of opposition from different quarters, an important deviation was made from the provisions of the Act of 1904. The Government was deprived of its independent judgment regarding affiliation and disaffiliation of colleges and its power of final decision was limited to those cases which were forwarded for the approval of the Syndicate and the Senate. The idea of having the Vice-Chancellor as a whole- time official of the University was also dropped in the final Bill. But the first Vice-Chancellor, J. G. Jennings, was for all purposes a whole-time officer of the University. The nominated element of the Senate got a maximum of twentyfive members and the elected element was raised to a maximum of fifty. It may be noted in this connection that in 1917 the Senate of the three oldest Universities had each one hundred Fellows out of whom eighty were nomina­ted by the Government, ten elected by the Registered Graduates and ten by the teachers in the Faculties. Due to the agitation of the people of Bihar and the support of All-India leaders in the Congress as well as the Imperial Legislative Council the Senate of the Patna University became more democratic than its counterpart in the older Universities. In addition to the registered graduates new electorates were introduced in it. The teaching stall of the colleges, the teachers of schools, associations and public bodies were allowed to send their representatives to the Patna University Senate. The constitution of the Syndicate also was modified to a large extent. The Syndicate came to consist of four ex-officio members, namely, the Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Public Instruction, Principals of the Patna College and Ravenshaw College and fourteen members elected by the Senate of whom at least seven were to be elected by the staff of the University or the colleges. The inde­pendent powers of the Syndicate were curtailed and its decisions were allowed to be revised by the Senate on joint reference made by not less than six members of the Syndicate.

 

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