KOCHI: Union Christian College, Aluva, is basking in its centennial glow. The celebrations have already started on March 8, 2021. As the festivities reach a crescendo, the college looks back at the various events that have bound it firmly to history.
The college founded on June 8, 1921, has contributed 100 years of academic services to the nation and society. With its cosmopolitan and secular character, commitment to values of humanism and liberalism and allegiance to the national struggle, UC college has left an idelible mark in the history of higher education in Kerala.
“Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gnadhi visited the college in 1922 and 1925,” says Thomas John, manager, of the college. And there still stands tall on the campus the evidence of the visit. “A mango tree called Gandhimavu,” said Trincy Varghese, convenor of the Media publicity committee.
According to her, the tree was planted by Mahatma Gandhi on March 18, 1925, when he visited the college on his way to attend the Vaikom Satyagraha. “On learning that Gandhi will be getting down in Ernakulam, the teachers and students of the college invited him to the institution. Gandhi gave an enlightening discourse to the college community and wrote in the visitor’s diary, “Delighted with the ideal situation” before leaving,” she says.
“The tree is now 98 years old. The Botany department has taken up a project and they are preparing graftings of the tree. We want to preserve the DNA of the original tree. Around 25 saplings have been created so far,” she adds.
The process was done under the guidance of Aneesh N V, a grafting specialist, at Agriculture Research Station Mannuthy in Thrissur. The plan is to create 100 saplings in six months. The first sapling will be released at a public meeting on November 12, where Gandhi’s grandson Thushar Gandhi will be the chief guest.
“Another highlight is the sculpture called the Mahaganitham. It is made of the trunk and root of the mahagony tree, which got destroyed in a lightning strike,” she says. “It is said the tree saved the lives of hundreds of students when it bore the brunt of the lightning in 2002.”
“The making of the sculture began in 2002 and was completed in 2007,” she says. According to her, the sculpture is considered a geometrical representation of the univserse. “Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam described it as a ‘harmonious blend of art and science.’”
The sculpture stands in front of the Kacherimalika, an abandoned old court building of the Travancore Kingdom. “The building was constructed in the late 18th century,” says Trincy. The celebrations will come to a grand finale with the UCian Global Meet on November 12 and a mega exhibition from November 7 to 12.