Established on October 6, 1821, Yerwada’s Deccan College is rich in history, but hard up in empirical terms. One of the oldest surviving educational institutions in the country, with Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sir RG Bhandarkar and RD Ranade among its alumni, the academy is the epitome of neglect. About 20 teaching posts in three departments have been lying unfilled for many years. Similarly, the future of the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principals’ project too remains uncertain. Started here in 1948, 28 volumes of the encyclopaedia have been published so far. But currently, 23 of the 25 posts in the project are vacant.
Deccan College administration says it has been constantly making efforts to find a way out, but hasn’t received much cooperation or support from the government. The college had conducted interviews in September 2012, with the target to fill at least 10 teaching and 40 administrative posts. A few candidates were selected, but five months later the college has not been able to hand out any appointment letters, as according to a recent Government Resolution (GR), no government-approved institute in the state can fill more than three per cent of total vacant posts in a year. “Right now, out of 53 teaching posts, 20 are vacant. In administration, 45 out of the 109 approved posts have not been filled due to various reasons,” said Dr Vinayak Bhatt, director, Deccan College.
“If we follow the GR, it will take us many years to fill all the 20 teaching posts,” he added. Deccan College has three departments —Sanskrit, Archaeology and Linguistics. Both Sanskrit and Linguistics have seven positions each that are vacant, while Archaeology department has six teaching posts unoccupied. The encyclopaedia venture is also in dire straits. “All the 25 posts of this projects come under the ministry of human resource development (HRD). Over the last few years we have been regularly bringing up this issue to the ministry’s notice. Finally, there’s hope now that the central government will give its green signal to fill up the vacancies,” informed Dr Jayashree Sathe, head of the project and HoD of Sanskrit. “Last month, a committee appointed by HRD ministry visited the college and took a review of all the vacancies. We are hopeful that the panel’s report will set the ball rolling,” Sathe added.
Hopes pinned to report
Deccan College has already applied to the state government to relax the three per cent norm while recruiting teachers. On the other hand, the government has appointed a special committee under the chairmanship of MLA Girish Bapat to study the situation. When contacted by MiD DAY, Bapat said, “Deccan College administration has already put its side before our committee. Apart from Deccan College, almost all government-recognised universities in the state are facing similar problems of not being able to fill up vacant teaching positions in a hurry, as the recent GR doesn’t allow this. We have almost completed our work and the committee will soon submit its report to the government.”
Deccan College is the third oldest educational institution in the country, stretching back to the Dakshina Fund started by Khanderao Dabhade, a Maratha Sardar and continued by the Peshwas for propagating learning. The Dakshina Fund was given the status of an institution named as the Hindoo College on 6th October 1821 by Mountstuart Elphinstone, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bombay Presidency. The institution was renamed Deccan College in October 1864. The college has produced a galaxy of students who rose to positions of excellence in various walks of life. They include Sir R G Bhandarkar, the celebrated Indologist, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the great nationalist leader, Gurudev R D Ranade, the eminent philosopher, G G Agarkar, the great social reformer, V K Rajawade, the famous historian and Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis, the famous Indian medical practitioner.