Amidst the crowded and chaotic environs of Koti in Hyderabad, stands tall a 207-year-old building with a majestic facade of Corinthian pillars, galleried halls, imposing gateways and fortified walls. This typical palladian structure spread over 42 acres — the residence and office of the then British resident to the Nizam’s dominian — has housed the Osmania University College for Women between 1948 and 2005 before the classrooms were shifted to new buildings within the campus.
The college for women was established in 1924 at Golden Threshold, former residence of Sarojini Naidu— the nightingale of India at Nampally in the city. Speaking about the uniqueness of the college, aptly, GM Linell, Former Principal of the college had said, “For where else do students live in a fortress and cross a drawbridge to go from one lecture to another? For where else do they have the very chance of enjoying 60 acres of campus in the heart of a great city. Where else have they connected with the college building an authentic and highly romantic love story? Do we all realise our unusual possession or know much of its history?” The building is also the backdrop for William Dalrymple’s
White Mughals, a love story set in the early nineteenth century Hyderabad, between James Achilles Kirkpatrick, an East India Company official and Khair-un-Nisa, a Hyderabadi princess.
As much as they love their historical possession, the 90-year-old autonomous college is also proud about their contribution towards women’s emancipation and empowerment. “We know women are stronger than men, both emotionally and physically. Our approach is not for equality, but accepting the superiority of women,” says Prof BT Seetha, Principal of the college. We specialise in Genetics-Biotech, food and nutrition, she points out.
The college offers courses in BA (History, Economics, Political Science and History, Political Science and Telugu literature) in Telugu medium; BA (Mathematics, Economics, Statistics) among other combinations; BCom regular; BCom Taxation among others; BSc Physical Sciences(with different combinations of Mathematics, Physics, Electronics, Statistics and Computer Science); with many other combinations. Postgraduate courses are offered in MSc (Botany, Inorganic Chemistry, Physics, Zoology), MA (Economics, Political Science, English, Hindi, Telugu, Urdu), MCom, MSc in various combinations, MBA and MCA are also offered. Short term add-on certificate courses are offered in Photography, Translation, Rural Technology, among many others. Prof YL Srinivas of Department of English, says, “No other college gives all the variant subjects as combinations. We offer one-year diploma courses too in Family and Marriage Counselling, Bioinformatics, Child Psychology, etc.”
Spread over 42 acres, the college houses 4000 odd students across five modern buildings. All Science departments are equipped with labs. Other labs include Communication, Economics, Commerce, Genetics-Biotech, Food and Nutrition and Food Science Management. A library with one of the biggest collection of books in twin cities, a magnificent playground and sports facility, two hostels that can accommodate up to 500 students, cyber centre, auditorium, three seminar halls, 24-hour health centre with a fulltime MBBS doctor and a gynecologist every morning, counselling centre, botanical garden, green house and above all lush green environs is available for any student.
The college which has long been a centre for the Telangana agitation reserves 85 per cent of seats available in each course for Telangana candidates. Seats are reserved for Backward Caste, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates and also for National Cadet Corps, Games and Sports and ex-servicemen. National Integration Quota (NIQ) of five per cent supernumerary seats in each course is available. Admissions are strictly based on merit. Fee structure for regular courses range between `4,500 and `20,200 whereas for self-financing courses, it ranges between `5,400 and `27,380.
Academics and faculty
There are as many as 250 odd faculty members with around 70 senior members, all of whom guide and supervise four to six PhD scholars. All teachers have published research papers in either national or international journals. Undergraduate and Postgraduate students are required to do mandatory final-year projects and internships.
As part of their outreach programme, the college adopted a village near Rangapur. Students conducted a survey on aspects of health, sanitation and literacy. “We have given the villagers special nutritious recipes including cereals and millets,” says the Principal, who herself is an alumnus of the college. Other activities include annual day, sports day, environment day celebrations. A weekly assembly on various current affairs issues is held every Wednesday by different departments. Masscom Department brings out a newsletter covering important activities of the college. “We are starting a weekly market in the college for students of Commerce and Management to get hands-on experience in procurement and price negotiation of goods of requirement,” adds the Principal. Literary club, art and theatre club, science club, commerce and informatics club are some of the other facilities.
The alumni association meets once every year. Some of the renowned alumni members include IAS officers like Vani Mohan, Ratra Prabha, Padmaja, Archana Joshi. The college is also holding a year-long 90th anniversary celebration this year. “More than anything, we love the pleasant environment and strong faculty support. A majority of students here prepare for civil services and groups exams, and teachers are very encouraging,” says AS Mercy Angel, a second-year BA student from Mahabubnagar district.