The proposal of starting a Degree College was first piloted by Sri K. Jagmohan, a veteran teacher, social activist and practicing lawyer. In order to translate his proposal into a living reality he met late Sri Shankarji, the moving spirit behind Osmania Graduates' Association, a unique body of its kind, committed to the cause of education and upliftment of the downtrodden in Telangana region. As a follow-up, a meeting was held at Sri Shankerji's residence to chalk out the future course of action. Late Potnak Pentaji and Karipe Bhavanaji, the local philanthropists came forward to donate 20 acres of land for the purpose.
The genesis of Osmania Graduates Association can be traced back to almost a century. The social, educational, economic and political conditions of the society under a feudal Muslim rule of Nizam State were more archaic when compared to other princely states in India. Literacy level among the masses was very low. As such there were no political parties to reflect and mobilise, the aspirations of people and project the shocking economic disparities and plan to improve the situation. The policies of the feudal government were not oriented towards the needs and aspirations of the people.
Osmania University was established in 1919, with Urdu as the medium of instruction because Urdu was the language of the rulers and the ruling class. Much has been sung about this step, neglecting the fact that Urdu was not the language of the masses, but was only of the Muslims, and the administration.
After two batches of graduates, passed out of the portals Osmania University, serious consequences were realised by a small group of young graduates that their degrees of Urdu medium were denied recognition outside Nizam State, by the provincial governments in British India, other princely states and also by the University of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta.
Here lies the fascinating story of the genesis of Osmania Graduate’s Association. One of the subtle and grave concern shared by few young graduates from elite Hindu and Muslim families was how to draw attention of men in power that mattered to the anxieties of the young graduates of Osmania University to get their degrees recognised, which were to be equal to the degrees of other prevailing universities in India.
Late Mir Akbar Ali Khan, a graduate from the first batch and also the first to go to U.K for higher studies, has put on record his reminiscences, how he faced the problem of getting his degree recognised, when he went to enrol his name for terms of the course of Barrister in London. However, this problem was never solved till 1949, when Urdu medium was replaced by English medium after the state was merged in Indian Union. Earlier MBBS & Engineering degrees holders in Urdu medium were immediately absorbed in the Nizam government services. By 1947 about 312 doctors had acquire MBBS in Urdu medium. Nevertheless these graduates were admitted for the higher studies in UK. Also during II world war they were recruited in Armed Forces in equal footing. One of them, Captain Dr. V. S. Joshi was awarded the Military Cross while another Dr. Yousuf Siddiqui died with his boots on.
At this time the idea of forming an Association took shape-quick action was taken and Osmania Graduates’ Association was born 25th November 1932, thirteenth year after OU was established. Prominent among founders of OGA were stalwarts like Nawab Fakhar Nawaz Jung (First President) Sri Shankarji, Sri Abdul Rahim, Sri Raja Rai Gurudas, Sri Kaleemuddin Ansari, Sri Mohd Ali Khan, Sri Mir Ahmer Ali Khan and Sri Mirza Shukur Baig. A graduate in early thirties carried tremendous dignity, social status and responsibility. The Graduates were enlightened and detached from narrow social norms. They were indeed treated as enlightened elite. This naturally motivated them to widen their perception and explore the possibilities to work in social, economic and political fields, after prolonged sessions of deliberations and discussions, Education Committee was formed. Subsequently in 1938, Economic Committee was formed, which in its turn founded Exhibition Society in the same year. During the same period a political Committee was also formed. Education committee for some time published a monthly magazine. The Political Committee had become defund as many Osmania Graduates become government servants, and it went out of existence. However, Economic Committees and Exhibition Society continue their work, contributing service to Economic commercial and small and medium industrial development and cottage industry in this part of this state. The History of O.G.A is so vast and stupendous that volumes could be written about it. However, on this occasion it is relevant to highlight the continuity growth and services rendered by OGA.
Political developments in British provinces and Nizam State, did not escape the attention of the members of OGA. While Education committee went into slumber, a Municipal Committee named as “Osmania Baldia Jamat” was created, with the active leadership of Sri Ahmed Ali Khan (who later became an M.L.A and subsequently a minister). This committee took active part in Municipal matters, fought the first two Municipal Elections of Hyderabad city in 1934 and captured 9 out of 12 seats, against communal organisations. In the next elections it won 10 out of 13 seats. In the functioning of the business sessions of the Hyderabad Municipality, the elected members of OGA established healthy and progressive traditions and conventions. The Political Committee disassociated itself from O.G.A became a Political Party. However, the party had any follower because politics, liberal or communal, posed a threat to the security of participants. Further, graduates from Osmania University were absorbed in government services. Consequently, the small strength in the Political Committee could not withstand the strain and influence of communal politics. Having survived up to 1947, the group could not withstand the avalanche of partition and Razakar Movement and went out of existence.
Till 1957, the OGA organised about 25 conferences and passed a number of resolutions stressing the need for immediate industrialisation of the state and increase in educational facilities. Its concerted efforts for a state sponsored bank impressed the Nizam Government. Thus, the State Bank of Hyderabad was founded in 1942. The OGA with pride claims a share of credit for the establishment of this Bank and few industrial concerns started during this period.
In early fifties there was a move to transfer Osmania University to the Central Government or convert it University into a Hindi University. On both these issues OGA passed resolution in the symposium on Osmania University and the graduates, expressing their concern on the idea, suggested the establishment of separate universities on those lines without disturbing the status of the Osmania University. OGA succeeded in its efforts to retain English Medium for Osmania University.
In the 1950s, it was realised that the Osmania University graduates were not given adequate representation in government services. A representation was given to the government which gave sympathetic consideration. Again it was realised that the Osmania graduates were logging behind in All India competitive examinations. Therefore, I.A.S. coaching classes by conducted by the OGA for some time. The OGA succeeded in pursuing the U.P.S.C. to make Hyderabad as one of the centres for its All India competitive examination. The OGA also submitted its views to the Law commission, appointed by Hyderabad State Government, a number of suggestions, which were accepted by the commission.
In the sixties, Osmania Graduates Association successfully mobilised public opinion for representation of Osmania Graduates by carving out Osmania Graduates constituency in the composition of the senate of Osmania University. This arrangement remained for a decade or so. At this juncture the emphasis of OGA had shifted from multidirectional activities to unidirectional i.e. towards the development of education in the region preferring women’s education. As a result, the association started many colleges.
After 1960s, the activities of OGA were radically changed under the leadership of a great man of vision and foresight Sri Shankarji. He later became chairman of Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission. His emphasis on education in general, and for women in particular, led to the establishment of many educational institutions. The sister organisation, Exhibition Society has been a main funding source to all educational institutions sponsored by OGA and Exhibition Society and Economic Committee. The total number of students in these institution today which include, a high school, intermediate, Degree and Postgraduate colleges, Polytechnics, ITIs and an Engineering college, is around 30,000 and nearly 2000 staff working in these institutions.
1960 has a great significance in the annals of Osmania Graduates’ Association. Doyen Sri Shankarji successfully mobilised opinion to give a new direction and dimension to the educational activity. A casual remark/observation during an off-hand discussion snow balled into a courageous decision to start a degree college for women in Hyderabad. This was a turning point in the progressive history of OGA with a long term objective to enter the field of higher education. The decision to start a college for girls was openly welcomed with great sublimation. Thus, came into existence, Vanita Maha Vidyalaya in 1960 on the exhibition grounds, which was subsequently renamed as Sarojini Naidu Vanita Maha Vidyalaya. The college started as a junior college and in the third year, degree classes were added. Since 1965, it is a composite college, where intermediate and degree classes run under one roof and one administration and one Principal. It offers courses in Arts, Commerce and Science. After the Silver Jubilee, new advanced courses were sponsored and today, in the new millennium, postgraduate self-financed courses like M.A., M.Sc., and M.B.A on the hand, and research Labs for doctoral and post-doctoral research the other are launched. The cumulative effect of sacrifice, dedication and jurisdiction of Osmania University. The University Grants Commission assisted the construction of the girls’ Hostel by sanctioning grants for the purpose. Admission by girls from the adjoining rural areas is sought with keen competition.
The college has a magnificent building situated on the Exhibition Grounds. It is worthwhile to mention here that the foundation stone of the college building was laid by the Veteran Freedom Fighter Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan in 1969 The next educational institution started in pursuit of the lofty aims of spreading higher education was Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women by the Exhibition Society in the year 1961. This Institution attracted the attention of the entire country as it was first Polytechnic College for Women. This Polytechnic College imparts education in a dozen Diploma Courses.
Once again the Exhibition Society took initiative to start a high school for girls in 1969. This was named as Shankar Memorial High School in 1974. It has acquired good reputation, which reflected through the strength of the students which is on the threshold of 1000. It is located on the Exhibition Grounds.
Climbing high to realise the aim of spreading higher education, Sardar Patel College of Arts , Commerce and Science was sponsored by OGA in 1970. Today it has established itself as one of the best centres for BA, B.Sc. and B.Com with strong emphasis on computer Education. Recently computer application courses have been sponsored with well-equipped computer labs and more than 250 computers. The college is situated in Padmarao Nagar, Secunderabad.
In the early 70s a new dimensions of spreading higher education in less developed areas of Telangana was visualised. Very serious and hectic exchange of views and discussions resulted in emergence of Lal Bahadur College in Warangal in 1970. Initially B.A., B.Sc. and B.Com. Courses were offered in a very modest establishment. Today, after 40 years, the college has big campus of 25 acres of land with majestic building which has become a matter of envy to other educational institutions. Particular mention has to be need of its science, computer laboratories and the general reference library. The college campus is situated between Hanamkonda and Warangal.
With the successful establishment of Lal Bahadur College, the OGA was enthused to survey the other less developed areas. (Educationally, socially and economically) to start a new college, in rural areas of the Telangana Region. The result of this exercise was materialised in 1971 as Sri Venkateshwara College at Suryapet, Nalgonda District. A unique aspect of this college was that it was the first Co-education College in a rural area offering B.A, B.Sc. and B.Com courses.
It has campus of 80 acres of land donate by a local philanthropist Sri Amarvadi Venkata Narsaiah. It is the first college to offer the subject of Electronics at an under-graduate level. The college has an expansive three storied structure with grounds and facilities for sports and physical education. It is a land mark in the educational map of Nalgonda District. In tune with the thrust in the field of higher education, the Exhibition Society started in 1972, the central institute of commerce imparting vocational courses in commercial practices with more emphasis on accounting, auditing, shorthand and typewriting. Recently computer education has been introduced. The institute is located in its own premises at Tarnaka in Secunderabad. The year 1973 is indeed memorable in the history of educational development under OGA banner. In one year two colleges were started. Kasturba Gandhi College for women was set up in 1973 at Maredpally, Secunderabad. It has made phenomenal progress both in Assets, student’s strength and number of courses. Initially a composite college, Junior and Degree College’s today function independently in the same campus in independent buildings. Post Graduate Courses have been added subsequently and the degree college came to be re-named as Kasturba Gandhi Degree and PG College for women.
One more spot in Nalgonda District was identified and the decision to start a new college in Bhongir was taken. The Sri Lakshmi Narasimha swamy college, Bhongir, offers B.A, B.Sc. B.Com and two restructured courses- office management in B.A and Applied Nutrition in B.Sc. Meanwhile, the Economic committee and the Exhibition Society, sister concerns of Osmania Graduate’s Association started an ITI named Visweswaraiah IT in Tarnaka. This was the first institution started with the initiation of Economic Committee. The ITI later came to be re-named as ITCs. Similarly the Ravi Narayana Reddy Industrial Training Centre in Halia in Nalgonda District and Rajiv Gandhi Industrial Training Centre in Nirmal, Adilabad District were started.
In 1994, under the initiation of Sri K Ramireddy, then the President, Exhibition Society, OGA, started another Degree College at Kulkacherla in Ranga Reddy District. The college, initially , offered B.A. and B.Com Courses, and added intermediate subsequently. In 1998, the Exhibition Society started Sri Venkateshwara Engineering College in Suryapet in the SVS Campus. It is affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad.
It was long felt desire of Osmania Graduate’s Association to establish Teacher Education Institutions. Two decades ago a resolution was passed to start Colleges of Education at different centres in Telangana region. Though it was late but in the year 2000 in the management of OGA took a firm decision to start the long cherished dream of starting colleges of education at Pargi, R.R. District, Kalwakurthy, Mahaboob Nagar and Warangal districts with financial support from the Exhibition Society. Accordingly the Osmania Graduates’ Association has started three colleges. The OGA & E.S College of Education at Pargi, L.B College of Education at Warangal were started during the academic year 2002-2003. The Bhramaramba Mallikarjun Swamy College of Education at Kalwakurthy was started in the academic year 2003-2004, followed by the establishment of the J.V. Narsing Rao Memorial Vidya Niketan School at Nirmal in Adilabad District in 2004.
The Osmania Graduates’ Association, since its beginning is doing its best for the development of education in Telangana Region. The financial help from its sister organization i.e., Exhibition Society stood as a great source for all these activities of the association. This organisation together created history in the jurisdiction of Osmania University, for which all the Osmania associated with these activities should feel proud and others should emulate them in the years to come.