If you have ever passed through JLN Marg in Jaipur, the chances of not spotting the campus of Rajasthan University are extremely low.
The University of Rajasthan is a state university and the oldest of all in this region. I have never studied at this university; until a few years ago, this university was the preparative base for the political career of many.
It was frequent to see opposing factions of the student unions like ABVP and NSUI staging protests or getting embroiled among themselves at the university entrance. It possesses a fascinating history as to how it came into being.
Rajasthan University Walk
Last year, I attended a unique walk organized by Jaipur Virasat Foundation called Rajasthan University Heritage Walk. This walk was led by Dr. Abhimanyu Arha and revolved around the history of Rajasthan University- the golden years! Dr. Abhimanyu shared details of historic incidents and anecdotes from the past. He undertook two such walks.
This year, Neeraj Chauhan, an ex-student of the university started a similar walk on the campus. This walk also focuses on the history and interesting incidents & narratives. One also gets an opportunity to walk through some of the campus buildings.
What makes this walk interesting is the casual style & energy of Neeraj. He keeps conducting walks on the campus frequently and announces the details via an Instagram page. Check the link at the bottom of the post. The walk I attended culminated in the college canteen with a treat of Dal Kachori and Chai.
The University Of Rajasthan took birth on 08 January 1947 and was then called the University of Rajputana. This was before India became independent and back then, the state of Rajasthan didn’t exist. There were many princely states in this region and therefore this region was known as Rajputana; unlike the current times, Rajasthan or the concept of this state didn’t exist. A few chief princely states were Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Mewar, to name a few. The idea of establishing a separate university for the region to fruition took more than 25 years. This process started in 1921. There were a few colleges in this region at Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Ajmer, which was under direct British rule. All these were initially affiliated with Allahabad University; they got affiliated with Agra University after it was established in 1927. A huge debate as to which city should be home to the new university delayed the whole process. In those days, the entire region was administered by Agent to Governor-General, also called AGG based in Mt Abu under the British India rule. A meeting was called by AGG Mr. Robert Holland with princely states in June 1924 to decide on this issue, however, it did not culminate in a decision. Once Mirza Ismail became prime minister of Jaipur, under Sawai Man Singh II’s rule, a fresh initiative was taken to establish a university for the region. After many talks with the princely states of the region, a consensus was finally reached.
It was decided to form the university in Jaipur. A special mention needs to be made about the successor of Mirza Ismail, V.T. Krishnamachari who was instrumental in the creation of the University of Rajputana. This was the last university to be established during British colonial rule.
To facilitate the creation of the university in Jaipur, Sawai Man Singh II, the ruler of Jaipur, allocated 300 acres of land south of Moti Dungari Fort. Currently, the most prominent landmark near this land is the Birla temple.
Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, the first Governor-General of independent India laid the foundation stone on 20.02.1949. During the period when Pattabhi Sitarammaiya was president of the Indian National Congress in 1948-49, a national conference was held in Jaipur.
Dr. G. S. Mahajani was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rajputana. Prior to his appointment, Dr. G. S. Mahajani was Principal of Ferguson College, Pune. Ferguson College was one of the most prominent colleges during those times; Bal Gangadhar Tilak was one of the proponents of the college. It was inaugurated by William Wordsworth, the grandson of the noted English poet by the same name. The appointment of Dr. GS Mahajani indicates dedication towards creating a great institution.
The University of Rajputana was renamed Rajasthan University in 1957 upon completion of the merger of princely states into a state called Rajasthan. Back then it had 22 affiliated colleges; now the number is 598. The total budget currently is Rs 440 Cr.
The university was one of the leading academic institutes for many years. However, over the last few years, Rajasthan University doesn’t even rank in the list of top 100 universities. A systematic degradation in education standards, politics comprise a few factors that have caused this situation. It is to be noted aspiring students of the city prefer to join colleges and universities in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune rather than local ones. This is not the case when it comes to primary & secondary schools. A lot can improve when it comes to education standards, campus, faculty, and the educational atmosphere of colleges & universities.
Rajasthan University comprises many departments. Some of the departments are Zoology, Economics, History & Indian Culture, Hindi, Sanskrit, Museology & Conservation, Physics, Urdu & Persian, Business Administration, Visual Arts, to name a few. Some of these departments attracted foreign students especially Hindi & Sanskrit. Other than these, the university enticed students from nations that were ravaged due to war, civil unrest, etc. I have met students studying on this campus from Palestine, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Morocco, a few years ago.
Guldaudi Flower Exhibition
The University of Rajasthan attracts a large number of city residents every winter usually in December. The nursery of Rajasthan University holds an annual flower exhibition.
It is called the Guldaodi exhibition; the Guldaodi flower is called Chrysanthemum in English. The flower plants are available for sale as well.
Are you currently studying on a historic campus? Do you have something similar to recall from your college years? Do share your thoughts & views.
Here is the link to connect with the Rajasthan University Heritage walk – click here