Preparations are underway on a war-footing in the Bihar capital for the grand centenary celebrations of Patna University which will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 14, top varsity officials today said.
The country's seventh oldest university, standing on the banks of the river Ganga, completed 100 glorious years on October 1 and the administration held a simple function to mark the historic occasion.
"We had been in correspondence with the PMO for the past several months. He had accepted our invitation but dates could not be finalised. We ideally would have wanted him to launch the celebrations on October 1, but it coincided with Dussehra festivities, so that date was ruled out.
"The centenary is a big occasion and we wanted its main function to be graced by an august personality. So, we are glad that the prime minister is now coming on October 14, to formally launch the grand 100th year celebrations," PU Vice- Chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh told PTI.
The function would be held most likely in the sprawling grounds of the prestigious Patna Science College, which, incidentally, turns 90 next month.
"However, an alternative venue -- capacious Bapu Hall of the recently-inaugurated International Conventional Centre, has also been identified, keeping security issues in mind," Singh said.
He said it was a double honour for Patna, state of Bihar and the university, as President Ram Nath Kovind, former governor of the province and ex-chancellor of PU, has "agreed to grace the closing ceremony of the centennial".
A senior official of the university said "preparations are underway on a war-footing" and all arrangements are being made, in tandem with the local administration, to make the event a grand success.
The official said the function, lasting nearly an hour, is to be held in the forenoon.
However, the university is yet to get the formal itinerary of the prime minister, he said.
"A meeting was recently held by Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh with the top brass of the state administration and the Patna University to review preparedness ahead of the prime minister's proposed visit," he added.
On the occasion, Modi would also launch a special centenary souvenir of the university.
The university is also hopeful that the prime minister's presence at the event will the further the cause of the demand for a central university status for the PU.
Incidentally, Modi had in March last year closed the year-long centenary celebrations of the Patna High Court which was set up in 1916.
Excitement is high among the students, teachers and other members of the university which was set up five years after the creation of the province of Bihar and Orissa.
The university administration had informally started the centenary celebration, with various sports and cultural activities in September. The activities, ranging from symposiums and conferences to essay, plays, quiz and photography competitions, will culminate in December.
A special centenary logo has also been launched. A 'Centenary Pillar' was erected in front of the new Central Library building in July and a 'Centenary Run' was held on September 17.
Ten colleges, including the over 150-year-old Patna College, once hailed as the 'Oxford of the East', the Patna Science College, the Patna Women's College and the Patna Training College are part of the university.
Eminent personalities such as Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, and Maulana Azad, have attended PU's convocations.