The impact of the West upon India has produced an intellectual serfdom which has exerted a most disastrous effect upon every sphere of life. Love for indigenous culture has been weakened and minds cast in foreign moulds have lost that elasticity from which alone springs originality and artistic impulse.
His Exalted Highness The Nizam was seeking to rescue his subjects from such intellectual thraldom. With that end in view he sanctioned on Thursday, April 26th 1917, a scheme for the establishment, of a University at his capital whose roots would be firmly planted in Eastern culture, though they would also derive nourishment from Western Arts and Sciences. The official decree or Royal Charter was issued on 28th Zilhaja 1336 Hijri, Friday 4th Oct 1918.
The Royal Charter published in gazette extraordinary
The method of imparting education prevailed in the dominion was the traditional way of imparting theosophical education through spiritual gurus or priests in the respective community centres. Though His Exalted Highness Government generously gave financial aid to such institutions but never intervened with the syllabus. The others were the institutions affiliated to Madras University, again H.E.H’s government could not interfere with the educational activities. One such college in the dominion was The Nizam College. Though highly qualified Professors were appointed but the results were unsatisfactory. In eight years of time (1907 to 1914) 255 students got admitted in the college, out of which only 13 students had passed. Others 95% either failed or left the college.
The Nizam was not satisfied by the education system for his subjects. He felt the need for a college or University was indispensable for imparting education and furthering research, and promoting the study of literature, art, science, philosophy, history, medicine, commerce, law, agriculture and other branches of useful knowledge as well as imparting physical, moral, technical and professional training.
The Osmania University was named after the Seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, in commemoration of his accession to the Throne. It is the seventh oldest university in India and third oldest in South India. It has significantly contributed to the academic and economic development of not only the region but also of the country.
The University was established to cater modern, secular, cultural, Islamic and regional Arts education, for which the medium of instruction was selected as Urdu and English was made a compulsory language, making it the first University in the Indian Sub-continent to provide education in native Urdu language. The aim was to blend the knowledge and culture of ancient and modern times so harmoniously that full advantage may be taken of all that is best in the ancient and modern systems of physical, intellectual and spiritual culture. Unlike other universities it was not to content itself with merely diffusing knowledge, but also to “aim at the moral training of the students” and to develop originality in them. His Exalted Highness in the Farman creating the University, made it clear that the people who would take advantage of the institution would be compelled to study English as a language, because Government was anxious that the alumni of this University should not be inferior to those of the other Indian Universities in respect of their practical acquaintance with a language which had become so essential in every department of life.
Crest of Osmania University
Translation Bureau was specially created that collected sufficient foreign and regional language text-books along with literature, sciences and other Art works from around the world and transformed it into the Urdu language. The Government Press was strengthened to expedite the publication of text-books. It began work in Sept, 1917, with a staff consisting of a curator and eight translators, selected with the greatest care.
Within 2 years of the establishment of the Translation Bureau sufficient number of volumes had been compiled or translated to enable the University to begin work. The Dar-ul-Uloom, thoroughly reorganized, was constituted in Aug 1919, into the Theological Faculty, while a Faculty for Arts was established for the teaching of History (Eastern and Western, Ancient and Modern), and also for Philosophy, Economics, Mathematics (Pure and Applied), Physics and Chemistry.
The University College proved a success from the very beginning, 143 students being admitted when it was opened in Aug 1919. The number enrolled increased to 465 in July 1922. About 400 students presented themselves for the first Matriculation examination and within 3 years the number of such candidates rose to more than 600. At the close of the first 2 years, the Intermediate examination was held in 1921, 85 out of 97 students who had appeared from the college passed. All the examiners who were engaged from outside the University to examine the papers testified to the high quality of the answers given to the questions set by them, and attributed it to the ability of the students to grasp more readily the subjects taught in Urdu.
The second Intermediate examination, held in 1922, demonstrated the success of the experiment even more than the one held preceding year. For the first time in the history of the State a young woman sat for a University examination, arrangements have been made to enable her to do so without contravening the conventions of purdah.
The placing of the Nizamia Observatory under the University provided further opportunities for scientific study.
Unlike the older Universities of British India, the administration of the academic functions of the Osmania University was vested in the Faculties, in which the Professional staff predominated. The Chief Executive organ of the University was a council consisting of not more than 11 members, with the Chancellor (the Sadr-i-Azam) as its chairman. The Finance Member, The Educational Member, the head of the Ecclesiastical Department, The Director of Public Instruction, and the Principals of constituent colleges were ex-officio members, while the others were appointed by Government with the approval of H.E.H The Nizam Founder and Patron of the institution.
There being no public building available, several private houses were rented to be used as lecture halls and hostels; even verandahs were fitted up as temporary laboratories for the junior classes. In course of time arrangements were made to enable the advanced students to obtain their practical training in the laboratories attached to the Nizam College, which the Government had built and equipped on a generous scale.
In the meantime steps were being taken to establish High Schools in the districts to serve as feeders to the University. It was intended that there shall be at least one in every district and that intention was well on the way to fulfillment, so zealously was the Department of Education striving to make the success of the University.
It is appropriately described by the National figure Mr. C. Rajagopalachari as “the true Vidyapith, the Swadeshi University of All India.” Started as a bold experiment, with the vernacular as the medium of instruction, the Osmania University has proved to be a splendid success. In a session of Indian Science Congress held in the University H.E.H The Nizam said “It is my earnest desire, that the University should cooperate with other Indian Universities in preparing the way for a scientific renaissance which will contribute to the material progress and prosperity of India, and at the same time secure for her an honored place in the ranks of the nations who lead in enlightenment and culture.”
The University has conferred Honorary Degrees on various personages eminent in the national life of India, very befittingly beginning with its illustrious founder upon whom it conferred the unique Honorary Degree of Sultan-ul-Uloom, or the ‘Prince of Learning’.
A plot of ground 1400 acres in area had been acquired about miles from the heart of the capital, and had been surveyed by engineers deputed by the Public Works Department. Plans have been made for erecting large, spacious, handsome structures to serve as administration buildings, lecture-halls, laboratories, hostels for residential students and quarters for Professors. Syed Ali Raza and Zainuddin Hussain Khan were the engineers who were sent to Europe and America to inspect the university buildings in those countries and give a detail report. Mr. Ernest Jaspar of Belgium was appointed as Architect by the H.E.H.’s Govt for University building. He was recommended as the best for Sarcenic Architecture and had designed may Sarcenic buildings in Cairo. The cost estimated for the construction was Rs.10, 000,000, which the Government was prepared to spend to raise a unique University town, which attract students from all parts of the country.
The magnificent building of Arts College building was completed in the year 1939. The first of the buildings of the University Town was inaugurated by H.E.H. The Nizam, who had laid its foundation stone. He said on the August occasion “I regard the Osmania University as marking a great achievement of my period of rule; and this building, which is beauty of design, magnificence and splendor, has not a rival in India, will be a glorious monument to it. Like Urdu, the Architecture of this building represents a blending of the Hindu and Muslim styles and the art and culture of both these races are reflected in the pillars, traceries and carvings on the doors and walls. Thus, this building symbolizes the close contacts and friendly relations subsisting for centuries between the various classes of my subjects, as a result of which the people of my State have always in the past lived in harmony with one another. I therefore deem it my duty, and an expression of my love for my people to maintain those relations between them. The Osmania University should not only be the repository of Hyderabad’s best traditions, a model of its high culture; it should also aim at broad mindedness and mutual toleration and unity among the students, for in that ideal lies the well-being and the prosperity of the State.”
Notable alumni of Osmania University include the 9th Prime Minister of India P.V. Narsimha Rao, Our honourable first Chief Minister of Telangana K.Chandra Shekhar Rao, 16th and last Chief Minister of United Andhra Pradesh and Telangana N.Kiran Kumar Reddy, Asaduddin Owaisi member of Parliament from Hyderabad, Keshav Rao Sonawane Co-operative minister of Maharashtra State, current CEO Adobe systems Shantanu Narayen and senior advocate Subodh Markandeya. Ravi V. Bellamkonda, a distinguished biomedical engineer, president of American Insititute for Meical and Biological Engineering, and dean of Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. Mohammed AzharUddin former captain Indian cricket team, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle , former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Yaga Venugopal Reddy, Rakesh Sharma cosmonaut, and the first Indian to travel in space, metallurgist and former Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University Patcha Ramchandra Rao, and many more.
The University Library founded in the year 1918 along with the University is a knowledge hub with more than 500,000 books and journals and more than 6000 manuscripts.