Story Title: Mahatma Phule

By Adila Shams
Word Count: 483

Mahatma Phule & Savitribai

Mahatma Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, also known as Mahatma Phule was a thinker, social reformer and writer from Maharashtra.

Jyotirao Phule was born in Satara district in 1827. His father, Govindrao was a vegetable-vendor in Pune. He belonged to a caste which is considered to be an inferior caste by some. His mother passed away when he was nine months old. Due to lack of funds, his family took him out of school and he started helping out on the family's farm. But a neighbor persuaded his father to educate him and so he was admitted in the Scottish Mission’s High School, Poona.

The turning point in Jyotiba’s life took place in 1848 when he was insulted by friends. He began to understand the impact of the caste system. He was greatly influenced by Thomas Paine's book "Rights of Man" and developed a keen sense of social justice.

In 1873, he formed 'Satya Shodhak Samaj', a society of seekers of truth. The main aim of this society was to help the lower castes against being exploited by the Brahmans. He started a newsletter called ‘Deenbandhu’. The women’s section of the society was headed by his wife, Savitribai, who he had married at the age of 12.

He and his wife started the second school for girls in India in 1848. He initiated widow remarriage and started a home for upper caste widows in 1854. To prevent female infanticide, he started a home for new-born infants. He tried to eliminate untouchability. He was a member of the Pune municipality from 1876 to 1882.

Jyotirao was given the title of 'Mahatma' in 1888 for his dedicated service in the cause of humanity. He has also has been honored greatly in both Pune and Mumbai. A full length statue of Mahatma Phule has been inaugurated at the premises of Vidhan Bhavan, Maharashtra. The Crawford Market in Mumbai is officially known as the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai and Mandai (a market in Pune) is officially known as Mahatma Phule Mandai (it is Pune's biggest vegetable market.)

The Mahatma Phule Museum, the Science and Technology museum in the city of Pune was renamed in his honor in 1968.

Apart from his social activities Jyotiba was also a writer and has published works such. Some of his publications are Tritiya Ratna, Brahmananche Kasab, Powada: Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha ( the life of shivaji in English poetry), Gulamgiri, ( this book was inspired by the American Civil War).

Jyotiba Phule was one of the prominent social reformers of the nineteenth century India. Leading the movement against the prevailing caste-restrictions in India, revolting against the domination of the Brahmins and fighting for the rights of peasants and other low-caste people have been his most recognized works. He was believed to be the first Hindu to start an orphanage for the unfortunate children. In 1890, India’s great reformer, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule passed away.


Story Title: Pune University and IUCCA

By Prajakta Joshi
Word Count: 508

Pune University

Pune is the educational hub of Maharashtra. Thus the University of Pune, recently renamed the Savitribai Phule Pune University, holds a very important position as students from all over the world come to attend various courses in the university. IUCAA, that is, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics is a part of the university campus.

A University is meant to set up and administer various courses at a higher education level (college level). A University awards degrees and diplomas to students who study at colleges which are affiliated (attached) to the university.

The University of Pune was established on 10th February 1949 under the Poona University Act (or law). Dr. M. R. Jaykar was the first vice-chancellor. The university now houses 46 academic departments. It also has about 307 recognised research institutes and 612 affiliated colleges. The Jaykar Library that is famous worldwide has approximately 4,22,000 books and journals.

Along with the vastness of its departments, the university is actually spread across 411 acres of land. The premises are beautiful with lush greenery and many trees. The main building is the most significant structure in the whole university campus. The beautiful architectural structure was once the residence of the Governor of Bombay Province during the British rule.

Apart from the main building, the campus also provides facilities for recreational and sports activities of its students by providing them with basketball and volleyball courts, cricket and football grounds, an amphitheatre (an open-air concert venue), four auditoriums, a gymnasium and a sports hostel. It also provides for a full time medical care facility for the students.

The university is self-sufficient in that it has all the necessary facilities like bus service, banking and postal services, printing press etc. There are a large number of foreign students studying at the university, and the management takes care of their needs through the International Students' Centre.

IUCAA is an autonomous institution (which means it does not need to be affiliated to any university) set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC is a government body that sets up universities. As the name suggests, it mainly aims at the development in the fields of Astronomy (the study of outer space, planets & stars) and Astrophysics (the study of __________), in the areas of research and teaching. The academy also conducts joint research with Indian and foreign researchers and institutes.

IUCAA's Scientific Public Outreach Programme, referred to as SciPOP, that was set up by Dr. Jayant Narlikar, conducts events like workshops and sky shows for school children as well as the general public. IUCCA is one of a few institutes that have started such programmes for the general public.

The institute, along with Persistent (an information technology company), runs a Virtual Observatory Project. It also runs the Girawali observatory that provides training and observation ground for students of different Indian universities. (An observatory is a place from where you can get a closer look at the stars.)

The University of Pune has recently been renamed as the Savitribai Phule Pune University after the great educational activist.


Story Title: Colleges in Pune

By Adila Shams
Word Count: 526

Fergusson College

Pune was referred to as the Oxford of the East by Jawaharlal Nehru. Pune has this status because the city has more colleges and universities than any other city in India. A large number of people come from outside Pune every year to study in college.

The oldest college in Pune is The Deccan College, located in between Yerwada and Khadki. It was established in October, 1821. It is a post-graduate institute of Archeology and Linguistics (languages) in Pune. It has the oldest boat club in India, called the Poona Boat Club. It is one of the oldest institutions of modern learning in India.

Another old college is the Fergusson College. Located on Fergusson College Road, it was founded in 1885 by the Deccan Education Society. It runs degree courses and is named after Sir James Fergusson. Fergusson College is proud of its association with a number of political activists during the fight for independence from the British.

Savitribai Phule Pune University (formerly known as the University of Pune), was founded in 1948. Most of the colleges in Pune are affiliated (attached) to this university. College of Engineering Pune (COEP), located next to the Sangam Bridge, is one of the oldest engineering colleges in India. Another large engineering college is the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT also offers many other courses like MBA, BBA etc.

Pune also has a number of ‘deemed’ universities. (These are universities that can start their own courses, but are not yet full universities.) These include Symbiosis, founded by Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, which has more than 30 different colleges located across the city and even outside the city. Another deemed university is Bharti Vidyapeeth. Founded by Patangrao Kadam, the institution has a large campus on Satara Road.

National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM) is another large college in Pune. It was set up for research and training in banking and finance and was established in 1969 by the Reserve Bank of India. The National Institute of Virology (NIV) was founded in 1952 by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Rockfeller Foundation. It deals in intensive training and research about different viruses. Viruses can cause serious diseases - you may have heard of the Swine Flu virus or the Ebola Virus.

‘Wadia College’ is a name generally used to describe the college on Bund Garden Road, but it is actually a number of different colleges. Ness Wadia College offers courses in Commerce while Nowrosjee Wadia College offers courses in Science. Another popular commerce college is Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC), which was established in 1943 by the Deccan Education Society to improve leadership and trained manpower in the field of business and commerce.

Spicer Memorial College was established in 1915 and has recently become a deemed university. The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) is an autonomous institute situated on the premises of old Prabhat Film Company. It offers courses in film direction, editing, cinematography, acting, audiography.

COEM (College of Events & Media) was established in 2004 and offers event management, advertising and PR courses. It has quickly climbed to the top slot in event management education.


Story Title: National Defence Academy (NDA)

By Prajakta Joshi
Word Count: 533

National Defence Academy

Pune has been known for a long time as a city which houses a large number of military establishments. It is also known for its large number of educational institutions. Now, one establishment has both these distinctions – it is military as well as an educational institution. It is the National Defence Academy.

The NDA is one of the most important military establishments because it produces the military officers who go on to command the country's defence forces. The NDA is an institution providing basic service training to the cadets of all three defence services, that is, army, navy and air force, before they can go for further training in their respective service areas. It is the first institute in the world to provide joint training in all the three services.

The NDA is situated in Khadakwasla near Pune. It has a huge campus spread across an area of 8,028 acres. The campus provides a variety of facilities for its cadets like a club, a military hospital, an officers' mess, a dental centre and so on. The infrastructure is developed appropriately for the overall development of the cadets. The campus has large classrooms, well-equipped laboratories, swimming pools, gymnasium, football fields and many such other facilities.

Apart from the academy, the area also contains a mini sanctuary which is famous for peacocks and Peacock Bay, which is a part of the Khadakwasla Lake. Since the NDA is situated along the lake, the officer trainees (known as cadets) can even be given basic naval training on the water. Of late, the academy has had to be careful while training in the water as a number of crocodiles have been spotted in the lake.

The foundation of the National Defence Academy was laid by then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949. The academy was inaugurated on 16 January, 1955. The officer in charge of the NDA is known as the Commandant.

The academy provides graduate degrees to its trainees, and is affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru University. The cadets are also trained in outdoor skills like drills, physical education, games that are crucial for them to sustain in the further military training. The equestrian training that trains the cadets with horse-riding skills is the highlight of the outdoor training.

The academy also emphasizes on building character development skills like leadership, observation, team spirit in the future soldiers of the country. After the three-year long full time training, the academy proudly boasts of having produced potential officers and gentlemen.

The NDA has given a number of brave heroes to the country and cadets trained in the academy have occupied the top positions in all three services of the armed forces. Many of them have also been the recipients of the Param Vir Chakra (India's highest military award) and Ashoka Chakra for their splendid contributions at the borders.

Along with its cadets and course, NDA is also known for its architectural beauty. Various elegant structures like Sudan Block, Ashok Pillar, Bombay Stadium, add to the pride and grace of the place.

With 'service before self' as its motto, the academy has been creating heroes for the country, and will continue to do it better and better over the years.