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Celebrating a centenary

Celebrating a centenary
Highlights

The premier university in Telangana, Osmania University, is celebrating 100 years of its existence. It’s a momentous occasion in the history of any university and certainly deserves a befitting festivity. 

The premier university in Telangana, Osmania University, is celebrating 100 years of its existence. It’s a momentous occasion in the history of any university and certainly deserves a befitting festivity.

Celebration of a university centenary should not be a jamboree. Notwithstanding the fact that any such celebration should certainly have symbolic activities that create a buzz, soul and substance matter the most. It should be a carnival of ideas as a university is a sentinel of autonomy of mind.

Osmania University has a rich and historic legacy. It’s one of the first universities in India to introduce higher education in Indian languages. From Vandemataram Movement to the recent movement for separate statehood, the university has always been the centre of assertion of dissent that is integral to democracy.

It was an abode of learning for a vast number of first generation learners. The obsession with the vicissitudes of its history should not make us oblivious to its rich traditions. Besides, the university nurtured subaltern social movements. Given this background, the centenary cannot be merriment but a true reflection of this cherished bequest.

Universities should be an abode of adventure of ideas. But, of late, disturbing trends in activism and declining standards make these commanding heights of intelligentsia highly vulnerable. The centenary should be an appropriate moment to rekindle the glorious intellectual tradition. It’s time to rethink, reflect, reminisce and reassure the generations to come that the true spirit of a university would be assiduously preserved and promoted.

The global higher education landscape is undergoing scintillating changes. The horizons of university education are vastly expanding. The educational services, especially at the varsity level, are increasingly becoming globally tradable services. The global trading agreements and arrangements are subsuming this vital sector into their framework.

Even as we entertain strong opinions on such developments, especially in terms of their implications for the form and content of higher education, the way forward should be to convert the threat into an opportunity. Indian universities should aspire to emerge as centres of global learning. At least, Afro, Asian, and Middle East countries look towards nations like India to build their human resources. The growing racism at the Western shores provides us with invigorated opportunities.

The rapid changes in technology redefine the teaching, learning processes. Indian universities like the 100-year-old Osmania should leverage this changing landscape. As the state funding shrinks, universities with limited internal revenue generating capacity should evolve innovative models for self-sufficiency.

The research eco system is an essential component of any university system. The society around the university looks towards a university for answers to its complex questions. Universities should be deeply embedded in this social milieu.

The intellectual community that benefited from it should join their forces to refurbish the alma mater. A centenary is a right occasion to spread the fragrance of enlightenment beyond its frontiers.

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