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BHU- Banaras Hindu University: Comprehensive Insights, Perks, Drawbacks, Controversies, and More

Established in 1916 by the esteemed Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a beacon of academic excellence in India.

Siddharth Verma04 May 2024 12:03

BHU- Banaras Hindu University: Comprehensive Insights, Perks, Drawbacks, Controversies, and More

Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi

Established in 1916 by the esteemed Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a beacon of academic excellence in India. With the Hon'ble President of India as its Visitor, BHU holds a distinguished position among Central Universities. Spanning over a vast 550 hectares (1360 acres), it is Asia's largest residential university. BHU embodies the visions of luminaries like Mahamana Malaviya ji, Dr. Annie Besant, and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, who have harmonized ancient wisdom with modern scientific ethos, leaving a lasting legacy.

BHU offers a unique holistic education model, which sets it apart from other institutions. It places a strong emphasis on character development and comprehensive mentoring, aiming to shape not just knowledgeable individuals, but also well-rounded, ethical citizens. It is the only university globally where education from nursery to doctoral levels is imparted within a walled campus adorned with majestic architectural marvels. The university hosts an extensive array of disciplines, spanning sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences, commerce, law, education, arts, agriculture, and languages, fostering a rich tapestry of learning.

BHU is at the forefront of academic research and innovation, with 12 departments supported under Special Assistance Programs and five under the FIST program of DST. This commitment to cutting-edge research is further demonstrated by the university's four affiliated colleges within the city and three schools, including a Kendriya Vidyalaya, on campus.

The university's reach extends further with the establishment of the Rajiv Gandhi South Campus in 2006, sprawled across 1092.6 hectares in the Mirzapur district. BHU's commitment to nurturing young minds and facilitating their creative potential echoes its illustrious history and inspires generations of scholars.

Highlights

ParametersDetails
Established in 1916
University TypeCentral University 
Rankings IIRF Central University Ranking - 2nd 
NIRF Overall Rankings 2023 - 11th 
Program Offered360+
NAAC AcrredationA Grade
Official Websites https://www.bhu.ac.in/ 
& https://bhuonline.in/ 

Historical Facts about BHU

Here are several intriguing and historical anecdotes about Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

  • Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Ji, the visionary behind Banaras Hindu University, served as its inaugural vice-chancellor for an unparalleled tenure from 1919 to 1938. Born on December 25, 1861, in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), into a scholarly Brahmin lineage deeply rooted in Sanskrit traditions, his legacy inspires generations.
  • In 2016, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) celebrated a historic milestone, marking its 100th year since its establishment. The Reserve Bank of India issued a Rs. 10 coin to honor BHU's centenary year and commemorate this momentous occasion.
  • Amidst the country's colonial era, Dr. Radhakrishnan assumed university leadership during the declining health of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, overseeing its establishment and operations. Serving as Vice-Chancellor from 1939 to 1948, Dr. Radhakrishnan played a pivotal role in shaping BHU's legacy.
  • Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Ji, a distinguished lawyer, educationist, and freedom fighter, laid the foundation of the university's main campus. His vision was unveiled during the 21st Indian National Congress conference in December 1905 when he publicly declared his ambition to establish a university in Varanasi. Subsequently, in 1911, he published his comprehensive plans for the institution. Remarkably, Malviya Ji made a significant personal sacrifice by relinquishing his legal career to dedicate himself entirely to the university's development.
  • Nestled on the southern fringe of Varanasi, the Main Campus of Banaras Hindu University sprawls across 1,300 acres, boasting a semicircular layout. With over 60 hostels dotting the landscape, the campus provides residential comfort to a vibrant community of over 12,000 students.
  • Located 8 km southwest of Mirzapur town on the Robertsganj highway, the South Campus of BHU spans a vast 2,760 acres. Welcoming over 1,500 students across 27 courses, the campus boasts well-appointed administrative buildings and lecture theaters, fostering an optimal learning atmosphere. Offering comprehensive amenities, including hostels, parks, sports complexes, and various shops, the campus caters to the diverse needs of its vibrant student community.
  • The SayajiRao Gaekwad Library, fondly known as the Central Library, serves as the heart of Banaras Hindu University. Established in 1917, this iconic institution is listed in the Survey of Manuscripts in India. The library's current architectural marvel, resembling the British Museum, was erected in 1941. As Asia's most extensive central library, it stands as a sanctuary for avid readers and book enthusiasts alike.
  • The New Vishwanath Temple, affectionately called "VT," is a majestic replica of Varanasi's revered Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Jyotirlinga). Nestled within the verdant campus of Banaras Hindu University, VT holds sacred reverence as one of Lord Shiva's holiest abodes. Also known as the Birla Temple, this architectural marvel crafted from white marble exudes timeless beauty. Legend has it that a pilgrimage to this divine sanctuary fulfills all wishes.
  • BHU's Foundation Day, celebrated on the eve of Basant Panchami each year, is eagerly anticipated by every student. It's a vibrant affair, with active student participation across faculties and departments. The highlight? Colorful tableaus showcasing the talents of students and teachers, meticulously decorated and expertly judged, with exciting prizes up for grabs. Additionally, Saraswati Puja is celebrated in hostels, complete with havan and aarti ceremonies, adding a touch of spirituality to the festivities.

Statistic Data

Here is a compilation of statistical data extracted from the Annual Report for 2021-22.

  • Spanning 1360 acres of verdant landscape, our university stands as an epitome of architectural elegance. Offering a comprehensive array of courses from early education to advanced doctoral programs, we house 5 Institutes, 16 Faculties, and 134 Departments. With prestigious affiliated colleges and esteemed schools on campus, including IIT-BHU and Central Hindu, we foster a dynamic environment for holistic learning and academic excellence.
  • Presently, the university boasts 1565 teachers, with expectations of future expansion. It hosts a vibrant community of over 32,000 students across India and abroad, reflecting its commitment to excellence and global diversity.
  • The university features 72 hostels (36 for boys, 32 for girls), housing almost 11,000 students with modern amenities, including internet access. Additionally, it offers 1667 staff quarters and seven guest houses on campus, ensuring comfortable accommodations for faculty, staff, and visitors alike.
  • In the academic year 2021-22, the Central Library enriched its collection with 4310 volumes and 1771 online books. It subscribes to 106 foreign journals and provides complimentary access to 183 Indian publications. With 7233 rare manuscripts and staff works, the library boasts 220 computer terminals with high-speed internet. It also converted 525 books into audio formats for visually impaired students.
  • Ranked third in NIRF 2021, the university excels in research. In 2021-22, it admitted 15,000 students, totaling 33,000. Twelve thousand forty-nine students passed the final exams. 457 male and 225 female students secured campus jobs. 
  • Teachers receive robust incentives and research support for teaching and research. They produced 4350 publications, including 3708 research articles, and filed 17 patents. They secured 125 new research projects worth Rs. 43.83 Crore alongside 542 ongoing projects worth Rs. 230.65 Crore. Notably, they garnered 92 national and 15 international awards. The university publishes the UGC CARE listed journal "Prajna" and various institute, faculty, and department-level publications.
  • 2021-22, the university conferred degrees to 6640 undergraduates, 4887 post-graduates, and 8 M.Phil. candidates. Additionally, 514 candidates earned Ph.D. degrees. 
  • In the academic session 2021-22, BHU produced over 4350 publications, comprising 3708 research papers/articles, 178 books/monographs, and 464 manuals/leaflets.
  • Throughout 2021, 70 Farmers/Farm Women Training Programs were conducted, engaging 1413 trainees, with 501 females and 515 from marginalized communities (SC/ST). Of these, 44 were on-campus, hosting 944 participants, and 26 were off-campus, with 469 attendees.
  • In 2021, 17 Rural Youth Training Programs were conducted, comprising 11 on-campus sessions with 261 participants and six off-campus sessions with 128 participants, totaling 389 trainees. Among them, 157 were women, and 142 hailed from Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes communities.

Why You Should Join BHU

Here are a few reasons to join BHU for a great academic experience.

  • Banaras Hindu University is home to its esteemed IIT campus, which is celebrated for its academic excellence and top-notch placements. Additionally, BHU boasts its own AIIMS-certified IMS college, renowned for its exceptional medical and research facilities, offering some of the best amenities in the country.
  • BHU's Sir Sunder Lal Hospital, an AIIMS-level facility, is the teaching hospital affiliated with the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS-BHU). Nestled within the BHU main campus, it is the largest tertiary referral hospital in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, offering premier medical treatments and services.
  • In addition to the medical hospital, BHU boasts its own health center, which provides top-notch and complementary healthcare services to BHU students and staff. Accessible right on campus ensures convenient and superior medical assistance for all.
  • BHU's Faculty of Veterinary Science, nestled within the picturesque South Campus, is renowned for its expansive agricultural fields teeming with diverse flora and fauna.
  • The Atal Innovation Center, a prominent initiative of the Atal Innovation Mission under NITI Aayog, Government of India, stands as a flagship project fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. Inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister on September 18, 2018, at IM-BHU, this center aims to establish Atal Incubation Centers (AICs) to nurture and support innovative startups, enabling them to grow into scalable and sustainable enterprises.
  • BHU's mess food offers excellent value, with high-quality meals available at an affordable price. For just Rs 40, hostel residents enjoy unlimited, delicious food. Maitreyi canteen and the IIT cafeteria also serve quality meals that are accessible to all.
  • BHU's expansive campus, adorned with lush gardens and abundant flora, offers a refreshing respite from the city's heat. Enjoying a relaxed, tranquil atmosphere, the temperature inside the campus is consistently 2 degrees cooler than the surrounding city. As you pass through the main gate, immerse yourself in the soothing greenery and serene weather.
  • With a century-old legacy, the Faculty of Law at Banaras Hindu University stands unparalleled among traditional institutions in the nation. Renowned for its historical significance, it boasts the highest number of students qualifying for the judiciary.
  • BHU is home to famous alums from all over the world. Here are a few names:
    • Bhupen Hazarika - Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, poet, actor, artist, editor, filmmaker, professor and politician from Assam
    • Jagjivan Ram - Indian independence activist and politician from Bihar
    • Ram Manohar Lohia - Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader
    • Nikesh Arora is an Indian-American business executive.
    • Manoj Sinha - Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir
    • Manoj Kumar Tiwari - Indian politician, singer and actor
    • Lalji Singh - Indian scientist

Drawbacks of BHU

Despite its illustrious history and academic prestige, Banaras Hindu University grapples with several drawbacks and limitations that tarnish its image as a beacon of higher education.

  • One glaring issue is the persistence of casteism within the institution, particularly evident in the disproportionate representation of certain castes among professors, course coordinators, and other administrative roles. This perpetuates a system of privilege and exclusion, undermining efforts towards inclusivity and diversity.
  • BHU boasts a sprawling campus teeming with diverse departments and faculties. Yet, overshadowed by the prestige of IIT and IMS, several departments have strayed from their commitment to academic eminence. Hence, it's crucial for students to meticulously assess the track records of their desired departments and faculties.
  • Internal divisions among faculty members often escalate into clashes, with students unwittingly drawn into rivalries between different departments or faculties. This factionalism detracts from the collaborative spirit essential for a conducive learning environment, disrupting the college experience for many.
  • Pursuing brand recognition sometimes takes precedence over educational integrity, with specific courses leveraging the university's prestige for superficial fame rather than prioritizing quality education and academic excellence.
  • The recurring crises, such as strikes over basic needs like course registration and teacher availability, underscore systemic inefficiencies and administrative failures that hinder students' academic progress and well-being.
  • The inconsistent quality of teaching is a prevalent concern, with some instructors merely regurgitating slides without engaging students in meaningful learning experiences, ultimately detracting from the educational value of BHU.
  • The omnipresence of politics at all levels further complicates the academic landscape, with power struggles and personal agendas often overshadowing the institution's core mission of education and research.

Addressing these drawbacks and limitations requires a concerted effort from the administration and the BHU community to foster a more inclusive, equitable, and academically rigorous environment that upholds the institution's ideals of excellence and integrity.

Controversies Related to BHU

Banaras Hindu University (BHU), a bastion of tradition and modernity, has been no stranger to controversy. From debates over cultural identity to issues of governance and representation, the institution has grappled with many challenges.

Appointment of Muslim Faculty Member in the Sanskrit Department:

In the tranquil corridors of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), a storm brewed on November 5, 2019. Amidst the hallowed halls of academia, the selection committee, led by Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar, made a decision that would reverberate across the campus and beyond. The appointment of Professor Firoz Khan as an assistant professor in the Sanskrit department ignited a firestorm of controversy, sparking online and offline debates.

As news of the appointment spread like wildfire, it fueled a cacophony of conflicting opinions and emotions. Some hailed it as a step towards inclusivity and diversity, while others vehemently opposed it, citing tradition and heritage. The discord manifested into tangible protests, with students staging a dramatic sit-in outside the vice chancellor's office.

The BHU campus remained divided as the dust settled, with the echoes of dissent and agitation refusing to fade. Amidst this tumultuous backdrop, the controversy surrounding Professor Firoz Khan's appointment continues to serve as a poignant reminder of the complex interplay between tradition, modernity, and identity in the hallowed halls of academia.

Iftar Party Protest:

In the heart of Banaras Hindu University, where tradition and modernity dance in a delicate balance, controversy erupted on April 28, 2022. The serene campus was shaken as whispers of discontent spread like wildfire.

A seemingly innocuous event, an Iftar party at the revered "Mahila Mahavidyalaya," ignited a storm of protest. A faction of students, their voices raised in objection, saw the gathering not as a celebration of diversity but as a symbol of what they deemed “appeasement politics.”

Their discontent found voice in the ancient verses of the "Hanuman Chalisa," recited defiantly outside the Vice Chancellor's residence. The air was tense as the flames of dissent engulfed an effigy, a symbolic gesture of their grievances.

In the shadows of the historic institution, the clash between tradition and change, identity and inclusivity, played out in a dramatic tableau. As protest echoes reverberated through the campus, Banaras Hindu University found itself at a crossroads, grappling with the complexities of modernity and the echoes of its storied past.

Demolition of the Adi Vishweshwar Temple controversy

In September 2022, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was thrust into the spotlight again, this time over a seemingly innocuous question posed in an MA History exam. The question stirred up a storm of controversy as students were asked to identify the book and author detailing the demolition of the Adi Vishweshwar Temple by Aurangzeb, a historical event deeply entangled in the ongoing Gyanvapi mosque – Adi Vishweshwar temple dispute.

The controversy's heart lies in a complex web of historical narratives, religious sentiments, and legal battles. The dispute traces back to 1991 when local priests sought permission to worship within the confines of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Over the years, numerous petitions have been filed, each asserting conflicting claims regarding the origins of the mosque and its alleged construction atop the remnants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

However, the controversy surrounding the MA History exam question transcends the realm of academia, delving deep into the socio-political fabric of the region. Students and stakeholders alike have raised concerns about the perceived bias in framing the question, with accusations of favoritism towards the Hindu perspective in the ongoing dispute. This contention highlights the delicate balance between historical accuracy and the sensitivities surrounding religious identity and heritage.

As BHU grapples with another controversy, it serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of history, culture, and identity. The university, known for its academic rigor and scholarly pursuits, now finds itself at the intersection of past grievances and present-day tensions. How it navigates this turbulent terrain will shape its legacy and reverberate across the broader landscape of academia, politics, and communal harmony.

Final Words

In conclusion, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a bastion of academic excellence with a rich legacy and diverse offerings. However, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the drawbacks and limitations that tarnish its image as a beacon of higher education. From the persistence of casteism to internal divisions among faculty members and from concerns about educational integrity to administrative inefficiencies, BHU faces significant challenges. 

Yet, these challenges also present opportunities for growth and improvement. BHU can reaffirm its position as a premier institution dedicated to nurturing future leaders and scholars by fostering inclusivity, prioritizing academic excellence over superficial fame, and addressing systemic inefficiencies. With concerted efforts from the administration and the BHU community, the university can overcome these obstacles and uphold its ideals of excellence, integrity, and inclusivity for future generations.

FAQs

Q. What are the notable departments at Banaras Hindu University (BHU)?

BHU houses renowned departments in various disciplines, such as engineering, medicine, humanities, and sciences. Notable ones include the Institute of Technology (IIT-BHU), Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS-BHU), Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Science.

Q. Does BHU offer specialized medical facilities?

BHU has state-of-the-art medical facilities, including the Sir Sunder Lal Hospital, an AIIMS-level teaching hospital affiliated with IMS-BHU. It provides comprehensive medical services and is a tertiary referral center in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Q. Is BHU known for its research and innovation initiatives?

BHU fosters a culture of innovation and research excellence. It hosts the Atal Innovation Center, inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister under the Atal Innovation Mission. This center promotes entrepreneurship and supports innovative startups, contributing to India's innovation ecosystem.

Q. What amenities does BHU provide for student well-being?

BHU prioritizes student well-being with facilities like the Health Centre, offering complimentary healthcare services to students and staff. Additionally, affordable and nutritious meals are available at the mess, Maitreyi canteen, and IIT cafeteria, ensuring students' dietary needs are met.

Q. How does BHU contribute to academic heritage and alumni success?

BHU boasts a rich academic legacy with illustrious alums like Bhupen Hazarika, Jagjivan Ram, and Nikesh Arora. Its Faculty of Law, renowned for producing judiciary qualifiers, and its Faculty of Veterinary Science, known for agricultural expertise, underscore BHU's commitment to educational excellence and alumni success.

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