ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tumultuous Journey of the University of the Punjab

The first three Indian universities—at Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras—were set up in 1857, inaugurating the Indian higher education system. The University of the Punjab was the fourth Indian university, which was set up at Lahore, the capital of undivided Punjab, in 1882. After India’s partition in 1947, this was the only Indian university that was split up into two. One part continued at Lahore while the other shifted to a new campus in Chandigarh. The story of this journey of the university through the tumultuous years of partition is both fascinating and painful.

The writer is thankful to the anonymous referee for important suggestions, and to G S Brar, who had taught Physical Education at Panjab University, Chandigarh, for crucial information on the university.

The sepoys at Barrackpore rose in revolt towards the end of March 1857; Mangal Pandey was hanged on 8 April. The first ever university in India, the University of Calcutta, was set up by the British on 24 January 1857, only a few months before these momentous events. The same year, on 24 July 1857, the University of Bombay was established; and, few months later, on 5 September 1857, the University of Madras came up. The last two universities were established after the British managed to crush the revolt of 1857.

Prior to these universities, the Indian school education system, in the form of pathshalas and madrasas, had already come into being. The British had also set up many colleges before establishing universities. The universities, in these initial days, were primarily meant for conducting examinations and awarding graduate-level degrees to students. The University of the Punjab (UoP) at Lahore, the fourth university in India came to be set up 15 years later on 14 October 1882. This was the first one to expand its scope to include teaching as well.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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