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Osmania University

The beginnings of Osmania University can be traced way back to 1873, when the need for a university in Hyderabad with an Indian language as the medium of instruction was first mooted. Two eminent scholars, Rafat Yar Jung and Jamaluddin Afghani, were the active initiators of this move. Jamaluddin Afghani left Hyderabad to settle in Paris. There, in 1882, he met Mr. Blunt, a member of the British Parliament. Since Mr. Blunt was on his way to India and Hyderabad, Jamaluddin requested him to take up the question of setting up a university with the ruler there. During his sojourn at Hyderabad, Mr. Blunt discussed the subject with the Diwan of Hyderabad state, Salar Jung II, and suggested that he submit this proposal to Nawab Mir Mahboob Au Khan, Nizam VI.

The proposal was presented on January 25, 1883. The demand for the Nizamiah University was raised by some eminent scholars on April 22, 1885, during a meeting held at the Public Gardens under the chairmanship of Nizam VI. Again at the prize distribution ceremony at Nizam College in 1895, Sir Viqar-ul-Umara, Prime Minister of Hyderabad,emphasised the need for a university. But no action was taken for a long time. In 1913, an old boys’ association of Dar-ul-Uloom was formed, and this association raised the issue of starting a university. By this time, the seventh Nizam had succeeded to the throne. He took a keen interest in the proposal.

During the first meeting of the association in 1914, which was held in the Town Hall situated in the Public Gardens, Sir Akbar Hydri, after due consultation with the Nizam, in his inaugural speech assured the gathering of the setting up of a university. He submitted detailed proposals to the Nizam in 1917. The Nizam gave his consent and suggested the name “Osmania University”. A farman or royal order was issued in 1918 and subsequently, the proposal to establish a university was confirmed on August 7, 1919. The university was started in a rented building near Abid Road and later shifted to its present site. The next step was the location of the university and its design.

After a careful survey, the present site of 1400 acres was selected by Prof. Sir Patrick Geddes. In 1930, two eminent architects of Hyderabad, Nawab Zain Yar Jung and Syed Ali Raza, visited England, France, Turkey, Japan and America. While returning, they met the famous Belgian architect Jasper in Egypt. Jasper was designing a university there. On their return to Hyderabad in 1931, the two recommended Jasper for the task of designing the new university. Jasper was engaged in 1933. He visited Bidar, Golconda, Charminar, the Ellora and Ajanta caves, and Delhi, in order to familiarise himself with Indian architecture and adapt it approriately to the environment and culture of Hyderabad.The results of his travels are evident in the fine blend of architectural styles of the university buildings, particularly the Arts College building. In 1933, Zain Yar Jung, the state architect,submitted a detailed design based on Jasper’s basic ideas. In July 1934, Nizam VII laid the foundation-stone of the university. More than 35,000 labourers were employed to construct the building.

The main building on the campus, and the first to be completed, was the ColLege of Arts & Commerce. An imposing granite structure, it is the best example of later Osman Shahi architecture, which combines the dominant characteristics of the Hindu style with those of the Saracenic. In this unique form are also beautifully blended medieval Muslim, Arab, Moorish and even Gothic schools of architecture. To every visitor the first view of the Arts College facade is truly breathtaking. The building stands majestically amid neatly laid-out gardens.The building was completed in 1939 at a cost of Rs. 36 lakh and was inaugurated in the same year by its founder, Nizam VII. Other buildings were gradually added to the campus.The Law College, Engineering College, and Science blocks have a similar architectural design. The main post-graduate library building situated on the top of a hillock,was built much Later.ln a straight line from the library, across the Landscape Gardens, is the Tagore Auditorium, which was finished in time for the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1968.

The sprawling campus has ample’playgrounds for various games. There is a large swimming pool for the benefit of the students and staff. The several hostels on the campus accommodate a large number of students from different parts of the State. While the approach road to the campus is lined with flowering trees, the Landscape Gardens are aesthetically laid out and fondly nurtured by gardeners. The American Studies Research Centre and the Institute of Public Enterprise are both situated on the Osmania University campus.

The Osmania University has the distinction of being the first in India to introduce an Indian language, Urdu, as the medium of instruction in all faculties. After Independence, however, the Urdu medium was gradually phased out. Today English is the medium of instruction, though students have the option of writing the papers in any of the four regional languages Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and Marathi. Educational facilities at the university reflect the need of the modern age. There are ten faculties Arts, Social Sciences, Commerce, Education, Law, Science, Engineering, Technology, Medicine and Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy.

There are special facilities for the study of Islamic culture, Russian, German and French languages. Special degree courses are available in modern subjects like Electronics, Astrophysics, Genetics, AstrOnomy, Journalism, Business Management, Public Enterprise and Public Administration. The university is the first and the only one in India to offer Military Science as a subject of special study. In 1983, a department of Theatre Arts was started which trains students in all aspects of the theatre, from folk forms, classical theatre to the contemporary theatre.

At present there are about one lakh students on the rolls. There are 167 colleges affiliated to the university. The Nizamiah Observatory constructed during the early part of the century has been attached to the university since 1919. The Osmania University campus is on the regular route of all tourist groups. Its splendid layout and elegant architecture combined with an aura of a princely past, give the university a unique character that blends perfectly with the flavour of Hyderabad. It is interesting to note that no building of public importance was built with such architectural elegance in Hyderabad after 1938.

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