Vagisha Kaushik|Dec 4, 2023
- Patna University's historic Wheeler Senate House renamed after Jayaprakash Narayan
Patna University's historic Wheeler Senate House renamed after Jayaprakash Narayan
A ceremony to mark the 106th anniversary of the university was held at the capacious senate hall, during which gold medals were presented to various department toppers.
NEW DELHI: Patna University's (PU) historic Wheeler Senate House was on Sunday renamed 'Jayaprakash Narayan Anushad Bhawan' after socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan. The senate house shed its colonial name on a day Patna University completed 106 years. The university was established on October 1, 1917. A ceremony to mark the 106th anniversary of the university was held at the capacious senate hall, during which gold medals were presented to various department toppers.
The charming senate house with Doric columns framing its entrance was inaugurated on March 20, 1926 by the then governor of Bihar and Orissa province and Patna University chancellor Sir Henry Wheeler. It was built using a generous endowment from Raja Devakinandan Prashad Singh of Monghyr (now Munger in Bihar). Sir Henry Wheeler had laid its foundation stone in 1925, according to archival records. This iconic landmark in Patna has been a venue for many historic events since its opening.
The 97-year-old senate house has hosted innumerable convocation ceremonies of PU, senate meetings, opening session of the Indian Science Congress in 1933 and several annual general meetings of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society (later Bihar Research Society) in the 1920s and 1930s, among other key events. Traditionally, PU Foundation Day ceremonies have been hosted at this venue. Days before the 106th anniversary of the university, a new plaque was installed on the right side of the senate house's facade stating that it has been renamed after Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as 'JP', a Patna University official said.
As guests streamed in on Sunday and walked through the hallowed portals of the refurbished senate house, not many noticed the new plaque. The plaque, with the university emblem at the top, reads: "Patna University - on September 13, 2023, after approval by Bihar Governor-cum-Chancellor Shri Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Wheeler Senate House has been renamed 'Jayaprakash Narayan Anushad Bhawan'...".
The senate house building has been refurbished, for which a sum of Rs 2.84 crore was sanctioned earlier, officials said. Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on September 5 unveiled a plaque embedded on the left side of the facade of the senate house to commemorate the reopening of the renovated hall.
In his address on the occasion, Arlekar had suggested renaming the Wheeler Senate House, saying it was a colonial-era name. Speaking about Rabindranath Tagore's visit to the Wheeler Senate House in March 1936, the governor had suggested that the hall could be named after the Nobel laureate. "There is a need to think over it. (Patna) University people should definitely consider this. I am ready for this," he had said. Days later, "emergency meetings" of the university's Academic Council and the Syndicate were convened and a "proposal to rename" the Wheeler Senate House was cleared. The proposal was then sent to the governor, who is also the university's chancellor, for approval, sources said.
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