Foundation of UOM

The foundation of the Mysore University

For nearly thirty years, the two Colleges in Mysore State, the Central College in Bangalore and the Maharaja’s College in Mysore, were affiliated to the Madras University. The two Colleges had between them 700 to 800 students. Collegiate education had already risen to a high grade of efficiency.

The feeling that Mysore State should have a university of its own was steadily growing. It was but right that it should complete the process of independent educational system by creating a university suited to its needs. The reasons were obvious. Mysore was a State distinct in itself. It was different in many ways from the adjoining Madras Presidency. It had a language of its own. It had its own educational aspirations.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the far-sighted Dewan of Mysore, who put into execution various schemes that ushered in all-round development of the State under the guidance and support from the Maharaja, Sri Krishshanaraja Wadiyar IV, fostered the popular idea of a University of Mysore and put it into concrete shape. He ushered the University into existence with the Maharaja’s College in Mysore and the Central College in Bangalore as nuclei.

To prepare the ground for the University, educational experts from the State were deputed abroad. Prof. C.R.Reddy of the College visited U.S.A., Japan and the Philippines and presented a report on the educational progress in those countries.
Prof. Thomas Denham was deputed to visit Australia to study the university system there. The valuable reports submitted by both these experts helped the Mysore Government in formulating a University scheme of its own.

On the basis of these reports, a scheme for establishing a university in Mysore was prepared in consultation with educational experts of the Government of India and the officers of the State, who had made a special study of University education. A Bill to establish a University was introduced in the Mysore Legislative Council on June 1916. It was passed unanimously on July 17. It received the assent of His Highness the Maharaja, Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar, on July22.

On July 25, the University of Mysore was ushered into existence by the promulgation with immediate effect of the Mysore University Regulation 1916 (Regulation V of 1816) through an Extraordinary issue of the Mysore Gazette. With that Mysore became the sixth University to be established in India and the very first in a Princely State.

Two days later, on July 27, Mysore University came into existence marking an epoch in higher learning in the then princely State of Mysore. A five-year-long in-depth study of higher learning abroad had borne fruit. The mission of the University, laid down in the 1916 regulations published in the Mysore Gazette Extraordinary, had set it aims at “promoting teaching and original research in conventional and traditional domains of Arts, Humanities, Pure and Applied Sciences and Professional disciplines”, which it has been able to successfully achieve during the last one hundred years.

With the bold decision to establish a separate University for Mysore State, rapid arrangements were made. Mysore was selected to be the headquarters of the University. H.V. Nanjundayya, a member of the executive council, was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor and Prof. Denham, who was then the Principal of the Maharaja’s College was appointed the Registrar. The Maharaja’s College in Mysore and the Central College in Bangalore became the first two constituent colleges of the University with Dr. C.R. Reddy and J.R.Tait as Principals respectively. The Senate and the University Council were also formed.

The first meeting of the Council was held on August 12, 1916 and that of the Senate on October 12. The first convocation was conducted in October 1918, where the first batch of 40 graduates passed out of the portals of the their alma mater, the University of Mysore and they were addressed by Dr. Asuthosh Mukherjee, a prolific Bengali writer and second Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta.

The Maharaja, who was the Chancellor, addressed the first meeting of the Senate on October 12 and set the aims and aspirations of the just-born University: “It gives me sincere pleasure to be present on this historic occasion. It marks an epoch in the development of education in the Mysore State; for what could be more significant in our history than the creation, at the express desire of the people, of a national university.”

“It is the first University in this country to be founded outside the limits of British India and is an institution which meets the special needs of Mysore and which will in time have far-reaching effects on the intellectual progress and the material development of the State.”

The Maharaja hailed the features of the Mysore University as unique in India and most satisfactory. Reiterating his keen desire in the promotion of the language of his people, Kannada, Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar said, “I am naturally interested in the special encouragement of Kannada literature which is provided for in the University scheme.”

“The University will also be engaged in diffusing knowledge among that section of my people, who for various reasons may not be able to participate in the courses and discipline appointed for the regular examinations. It is with this object that the scheme provides for the establishment of extension and publication departments.”

Concluding his speech, the Maharaja said, “I trust that the University will soon be able to develop fully this side of its activities with due regard to the practical needs of the country,” a wish that has been fulfilled by the University and its administrators during the last one hundred years. Not only, it has fulfilled the objectives set out by the Maharaja, but also acting as a ‘Mother University’, it has offered ambit for the establishment of new Universities and institutions in the State of Karnataka.

Rejoicing over the establishment of the University, Prof. Denham, who presided over the destiny of the College for over 22 years, said in his speech in 1916: “What changes and what advances have I seen in education both within and without these walls during the twenty-two years! I arrived on the day on which the College was raised from a Second Grade to a First Grade College. I have seen the number of students more than doubled – I have seen the classrooms overcrowded and every nook and corner of even the verandahs utilised for teaching. And as a climax—to me most pleasurable and fitting climax – I have seen a separate State University inaugurated, with, I firmly believe, every promise of great future.”

The University, which made a humble beginning with only two faculties, arts and science, and only two federated colleges one in Bangalore devoted to science and the other in Mysore devoted to the humanities, developed some unique features which distinguished it from the older Indian Universities.

The Vice-Chancellor was made a full-time officer with control over the University executive. The colleges were adequately represented both in the University Council and the Senate and every professor designated as University Professor was made a member. Besides degree courses in a variety of subjects, a teaching course leading to B.T. degree was started and was subsequently shifted to the Teachers’ College. M.A. degree courses followed soon after.

In the new set up, Prof. C.R.Reddy was elevated to the post of Principal of the Maharaja’s College from the post of Professor. He was succeeded by N.S. Subba Rao, who was associated with a band of great and patriotic educationists and professors who were to be the formative forces of a regenerated India. Prof. Subba Rao served as Principal for eight years.

The architects of the College and its destiny were professors like N.S.Subba Rao, K.T.Shah, A.R.Wadia, S. Radhakrishnan, M. Hiriyanna, Radhakumud Mookerjee, J.C.Rollo, A.B. Mackintosh, B.M.Srikantiah, Shustri, S.V.Krishnaswamy Iyengar, H.Krishna Rao, H.S.Nanjundaiah, C.R.Narasimha Sastry and D.Srinivasachar. Serving as Professors in different departments, they contributed to the building of the tradition of the College, as envisaged by its founders, including the Maharaja. Benefitted by the knowledge and wisdom imparted by these galaxy of dedicated teachers, their students remembered them fondly and reverentially ever after.

A Bill to amend the University Act of 1916 received the assent of the Maharaja on January 6, 1933. The amendment provided for the constitution of the Academic Council, besides the Senate and the University Council, enlarging the Senate to make it more representative of popular interests. This was the period when Prof. J.C.Rollo was the Principal.

During these years, the Mysore University advanced with great speed in its organisation on the side of substantial education and the amplitude of its activities. Many faculties were added and provisions were made at different grades for vocational, industrial, technical and technological training and education. Newly designed art courses were introduced. The Students’ Representative Council was established. No aspect of the institution was felt unattended to or uncared for. There was progress all around.

The founders of the University were very zealous that the highest academic standards should be maintained by the new University and recruited as staff members professors of great erudition and scholarship from various parts. Two distinct features of the University were the special encouragement provided in the University scheme for the development of Kannada literature and the establishment of extension and publication departments to disseminate knowledge to the community in general.   

S.V.Krishnaswamy Iyengar, H.S.Nanjundiah, C.R.Narasimha Sastry, K.B. Madhava, T.S.Venkannaiya, V.L.D’Souza, S.V.Ranganna, A.N. Moorthy Rao, K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar, T.N.Srikantiah, Dr.  M.V.Gopalaswamy and other members of the staff spared no efforts in enhancing the prestige and usefulness of the institution, with the active support and participation by Dr. M.H.Krishna, H.Krishna Rao, A.R.Wadia, H.N.Raghavendrachar, A.R.Krishna Sastry, K.V.Puttappa (Kuvempu), Narayana Sastri, C.D.Narasimhaiah and M. Yamunachar. Prof. A.B.Machintosh had succeeded Prof. Rollo as Principal and after his brief stint in office, Dr.M.V.Gopalaswamy, who gave the name ‘Akashavani’ to the All India Radio by setting up a broadcasting studio in Mysore became the Principal of the Maharaja’s College which continued to be the nucleus of the University.

The University, in the meantime, had gone through different phases of development. Started with just two faculties, namely arts and science offering BA, B.Sc., B.Com., and BT courses, the University added engineering faculty in 1917, MA programmes at Maharaja's College in 1918, M. Sc. programme at Bangalore’s Central College in 1919 and faculty of medicine in Mysore during1924 , thus laying a firm foundation for the multi-faculty character of the University. In 1941, new courses leading to B.A. honours were added.

Yuvaraja’s College

While Mysore University catered to arts faculty, the Central College in Bangalore encompassed science areas. Facilities for students of Mysore for study of science was realised during this period, resulting in the establishment of the Yuvaraja’s College, the Yuvaraja being Sri Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar, brother of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV.

The replacement of the Mysore University Regulation in 1927, providing for the establishment of intermediate colleges by the University from July, 1, 1928 enabled the Government to start intermediate colleges at Mysore, Bangalore, Tumkur and Shimoga. This resulted in a quantum jump in the number of institutions providing higher education in the State. Yuvaraja's College was one among them, which was started as an intermediate college.

In the year 1927, His Highness Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar generously sanctioned the building for the intermediate college the foundation-stone for which was laid on  August 8, 1927 by the eminent thinker and scholar Sir Brajendranath Seal, the then Vice-chancellor. The foundation stone was laid in the presence of a distinguished gathering including Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore, Pandit Motilal Nehru, father of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharalal Nehru and eminent scholar Shivashankara Shastry, following which a two-year intermediate course in arts and science was introduced.

With the dawn of independence in 1947, the intermediate college was upgraded to a first grade college. M.Sc. courses were introduced in 1960 in addition to the existing B.Sc. courses.

In 1954, the silver jubilee of the college was celebrated. Inaugurating the celebrations, the last Maharaja of the erstwhile princely State of Mysore, Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, rechristened the college as ‘Yuvaraja’s College’ to commemorate the occasion. His Highness himself was a student of the intermediate course in this hallowed institution during 1934 - 1936. Its diamond jubilee was celebrated in 1989 followed by its platinum jubilee in 2003, marking its 75 years of pioneering service in the field of higher education over which period it has developed extensively and earned the admiration and approval of the intellectual world.  

Today, the Yuvaraja’s College stands as an autonomous science college of the Mysore University by the side of the Maharaja’s College as its sister-institution, continuing to impart quality higher education to a large number of students.

Dr.M.V. Gopalaswamy’s Principalship synchronized with inauguration of several fundamental changes in the Maharaja’s College in 1943. Amongst the members of the staff, many had made a name for themselves and they included well-known Kannada litterateurs, P.T.Narasimhachar, V.Sitaramaiah, G.P.Rajarathnam, Narasimhaswami, K.V.Raghavachar, T.S.Shama Rao, Dr. A.N.Narasimhaiah, S.V.Paremswara Bhatta, D.L.Narasimhachar, S.V.Ranganna to name a few.

By then the total number of students had increased from about 150 at the beginning of the University to about 1,000 in the College. Since 1918, there were 6,500 graduates in arts and many leading public men in the State were among the graduates. The College had by then a palatial hostel accommodating nearly 200 students with a number of private institutions, some receiving grants from the University. It had a college canteen and health kitchen, University training corps, rovers, cricket and athletic clubs, besides the popular Students’ Union and Associations.

One of the great events in the history of the College was the entry of Prince Jayachamaraja Wadiyar in 1936 as a student of Junior B.A. ‘A prince among the students’ as described by Principal V.L.D’Souza, his connection with the College greatly enhanced the reputation of the institution and fittingly he adorned the Presidential chair in the centenary celebrations of the College in January 1951.

Joining other old boys of the University College, the Maharaja said in a message on the occasion, “It is a matter of pride to all of us that the College, which was instituted by my illustrious great-grandfather over a century ago, has achieved not only age but also distinction among its kind in India. A long line of eminent Principals, Professors and Lecturers, working among a bright and enthusiastic student body, have brought it to the present position of academic fame and importance. Its members, both teachers and old boys, have by their patriotic endeavour, enriched the public service of our motherland in many spheres of life,” – a tribute both to the College and the University, from where knowledge disseminated, richly contributing to the welfare and development of the then princely State of Mysore, which is presently named Karnataka, and globally at large also.

With the passage of time, the University grew enormously. Colleges came to be established not only in all district headquarters but also in mofussil areas. Post-independent, from 1947-1960, the University enacted a new Act of 1956, which ushered in academic autonomy and eliminated Government control from day-to-day functioning of the University. It also facilitated the introduction of Pre-University system of education by abolishing intermediate courses. With the support of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which came into existence in 1956, post-graduate education was expanded significantly.
The strength of the students rose from 593 in 1916-17 to over 46,000 in 1963-64.

During the princely regime, Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and after him Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar were the Chancellors of the University and post-Independence Governors became the Chancellors of the University.