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Union poll cry mars varsity birthday

- Agitation by Dal, RJD students’ wings delays foundation day programme

Students’ unions of the ruling alliance and that of the Opposition joined hands on Monday to leave a blot on the 95th foundation day of the state’s largest university.

The JD(U) and the RJD students’ wings disrupted the foundation day celebrations of Patna University, as they demanded holding of the union elections.

The function, attended by Governor-cum-chancellor of the university Devanand Konwar and the vice-chancellor, Shambhu Nath Singh, was delayed by more than an hour because of the agitation.

The authorities need to thank the policemen, who did their best to stop the unruly students and saved the officials from further embarrassment. The programme finally started at Wheeler Senate Hall around 12.15pm, instead of the scheduled 11am.

“When we joined the university in early 1960s, the students were disciplined. In case they had any demands, they were polite. Violent protests, manhandling of teachers or university officials and disrupting college work were rare incidents,” said Kashinath Singh, a Sanskrit teacher, who retired in 1991, adding that the academic scenario had degraded in the university. Singh, who has a long list of bright students, including retired IPS officer and present chairman of Bihar State Board of Religious Trusts Acharya Kishore Kunal, said: “The teaching methods should be such that there is a bonding between students and teachers. The students should automatically attend the classes.”

Sacchidanand Singh Sathi, a teacher who retired from the university in 1995 and was felicitated on Monday, said: “The biggest reason behind the students indulging in anti-academic activities is because of lack of social and cultural activities in the university. Things should not be limited only to the classroom.”

Recalling an incident, Sathi said there was a major train accident at Fatuha near Patna in 1990, in which more than 12 people died and many were injured. “The students of Patna University then had organised a blood donation camp for the injured,” he said.

On the occasion, Konwar felicitated eight retired teachers and presented them with a memento, certificate and a shawl, for their contribution to academic activities.

Apart from retired teachers, 41 students who have topped in various subjects in undergraduate courses were also presented gold medals and a certificate. This was the first time that the university felicitated three retired non-teaching employees. “Education should not be confined to just academic growth. It should also contribute to social development,” Konwar said.

Stressing the need for more research activities and improvement in higher education, he said no university in India figures among top 50 universities in world. “The Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty comprises 42 Nobel laureates, while in India there is no university having Nobel laureates as teachers,” he said.

The chancellor also praised vice-chancellor Singh for bringing about changes in the university affairs and felicitating undergraduate toppers, retired university teachers and retired non-teaching employees.