University of Madras
The University of Madras is a public
state university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Established in 1857, it is one of the
oldest and premier universities in India. The university was incorporated
by an act of the Legislative Council of India.
It is a collegiate research university and has six campuses in the city viz.,
Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Maduravoyal and Chetpet. At present,
there are 73 academic departments grouped under 18 schools, covering
diverse areas such as sciences, social sciences, humanities, management and
medicine along with 109 affiliated colleges and 52 approved research
institutions. The National Assessment and
Accreditation Council has conferred ‘five star’ accreditation to the
university and it has been given the status of ‘University with Potential for
Excellence’ by the University Grants Commission.
History The first ever demand for higher
education in Madras Presidency was given in a public address to Lord John
Elphinstone, Governor of Madras, signed by 70,000 residents when the Governor in
Council was contemplating “some effective and liberal measures for the
establishment of an improved system of national education.” This public
petition, which was presented by the Advocate General Mr. George Norton on 11
November 1839, pressed the need for an English college in the city of Madras.
Pursuant to this, Lord Elphinstone evolved a plan for the establishment of
a central collegiate institution or a ‘university.’ This university had twin
departments – a high school for the cultivation of English literature,
regional language, philosophy and science, and a college for instruction
in the higher branches of literature, philosophy and science.
The University Board was constituted in January 1840 with Mr. George Norton as
its President. This was the precursor of the present Presidency College, Chennai.
A systematic educational policy for India was formulated 14 years later by
Wood’s despatch, which pointed out the rationale for “creating a properly
articulated system of education from the primary school to the University.” The
Dispatch recommended the establishment in the universities of Professorships
“for the purposes of the delivery of lectures in various branches of learning
including vernacular as well as classical languages.” As a result the
University of Madras, organized on the model of the University of London, was
incorporated on 5 September 1857 by an Act of the Legislative Council of India.
The university progressed and expanded through the 19th century to span the
whole of South India, giving birth to universities like Mysore University,
Osmania University, Andhra University, Annamalai University, Travancore
University presently University of Kerala, Sri Venkateswara University,
Madurai Kamaraj University, Bharathidasan University, Bharathiar
University, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tamil Nadu Agricultural
University, Anna University, Tamil University, Mother Teresa Women’s
University, Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Veterinary and Animal
Sciences University, Periyar University and Dr. Ambedkar Law University.
In 1912 endowments were made to the university to establish departments of
Indian History, Archaeology, Comparative Philology and Indian Economics. In that
year the university had 17 departments, 30 teachers, and 69 research scholars.
Later the research and teaching functions of the university were
encouraged by the Sadler Commission and the gains of the University were
consolidated by the enactment of the Madras University Act of 1923. About
this time, the territorial ambit of the Madras University encompassed from
Berhampur of Orissa in the North East, Trivandrum of Kerala in the South West,
Bangalore and Mangalore of Karnataka in the West and Hyderabad of Andhra Pradesh
in the North. Between 1926 and 1939, the university
published the comprehensive Tamil Lexicon dictionary, which is the first
among the dictionaries published in any Indian language.
Coat of arms The description of the Coat of Arms of
the university, designed in 1857, is: “Argent on a Mount issuant from the
basement a Tiger passant proper, on a Chief Sable, a Pale Or, thereon, between
two Elephants heads couped of the field, a lotus flower leaved and slipped of the
third, together with this motto Doctrina Vim Promovet Insitam”.
The coat of arms colours are: the base is light green, the tiger is yellow on a
white background, the elephant is grey on a black background, the lotus is a
white flower with olive green leaves, on a gold background. The motto scroll is
edged red, with black lettering. The English translation of the motto of the
University of Madras is: “Learning promotes natural talent.”
Campuses The university is spread over six
campuses, viz., Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Chetput and Maduravoyal. The
Chepauk campus of the university houses the VC’s secretariat, central library,
centenary auditorium and the historic Senate House. The oriental and Indian
languages departments are located in the Marina Campus. The Guindy campus
incorporates the natural sciences departments while the campus at Taramani
houses the school of basic medical sciences. The sports union and the
botanical garden are based in Chetpet and Maduravoyal campus respectively.
Senate House The University of Madras has a
historical monument – Senate House – which is one of the landmarks of the
city of Chennai. The Senate House, the University’s first building, inaugurated
in the year 1879, is a masterpiece of Robert Fellowes Chisholm, an architect
of the 19th century, who blended the Indo-Saracenic style with Byzantine and
European architectural features. The university renovated the Senate House in
2006. Affiliated Colleges and Research
Institutions =Affiliated Colleges=
=Research Institutions=Notable alumni
University of Madras has a strong alumni network with its alumni taking over many
prestigious positions across the world. Some of the prominent alumni include
Nobel laureates C. V. Raman and S. Chandrasekhar, mathematicians Srinivasa
Ramanujan and S. R. Srinivasa Varadhan, former presidents Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan, V. V. Giri, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, R. Venkataraman and
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, politicians Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, C
Subramaniam, CN Annadurai and V. K. Krishna Menon, civil servants T. N.
Seshan, Benegal Rama Rau and Y. Venugopal Reddy, pioneers Verghese
Kurien, Raj Reddy, Rangaswamy Srinivasan and M. S. Swaminathan, economist C. K.
Prahalad, K. N. Raj, Raja Chelliah and C. Rangarajan, business persons Indra
Nooyi, Ram Shriram and Prathap C. Reddy, cinema actors and directors M.G.
Ramachandran, Gemini Ganesan and Mani Ratnam, sports stars Viswanathan Anand,
Vijay Amritraj and Ramanathan Krishnan among others.
Rankings Madras University has been consistently
listed among top ranked universities for its academics and research output.
Internationally, the university was ranked 70th in the QS University
Rankings: BRICS 2013. Ranked by the number of international students the
university is placed 1st in India and 11th among BRICS nations. In rankings of
Indian universities, it was ranked 5th by the India Today top universities
ranking of 2011. Grants
In 2011, the University Grants Commission selected the university as a
university with potential for excellence, under which the university
gets ₹ 250 million. The university had been selected under phase 1 of the
scheme in 2001–02 along with a few other universities in the country. UGC has
identified the school of geology and the school of zoology of the university as
centres of excellence and has allotted ₹ 32.5 million each for their development.
The university is planning to use the funds to buy equipment and improve
infrastructure. See also
Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics
References External links