Telangana Eliot describes April as the cruelest month in his poem Wasteland. Perhaps it is true with the sun beating down 44 degrees and accuweather predicting a dangerous heat wave. But, it is eventful and momentous as Osmania University, was founded in this month 100 years ago.
Befitting the occasion, the university premises have undergone a sea change like never before. The main thoroughfare has been illuminated as also the college buildings. The Arts College, the beauty in pink granite, sparkling with bulbs and psychedelic lights symbolic of wisdom banishing ignorance.
The main library atop the small hillock overlooking the vast Landscape Gardens beckons visitors. The entire campus is buzzing with activity, more in the night with scores of visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the architectural marvels.
The freshly carpeted roads, huge arches, and flexies welcome the young and the old who have criss-crossed the vast campus in bygone days.
The A grounds, the venue for the inaugural, resembles a big top hangar supported by steel pillars. To give a befitting welcome to Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Honorable President of India, dais has been tastefully decorated and has been equipped with powerful air conditioners.
The university expects 20,000 invitees to participate in this historic occasion and they include- VVIPs, faculty, deans, principals, alumni, non-teaching staff and students. With a large posse of policemen straddling across the campus and maintaining a hawk’s eye on the protestors, it resembles a fort.
Despite the sun god not relenting, there is a palpable air of expectation, a sense of urgency, a sombre mood of touching base of a mother, a sense of pride treading the paths which led to their respective colleges.
Once inside the campus, you struggle to overcome your awe of the massive Arts College building and very soon you yield to this beauty. Once you surrender the college main doors invite you to the colourful dome.
The cycle of time and nature has just started to take a toll on the building, but the love, affection and pride of generations of Osmanians, never fades, says Ms Sneha Verghese, JRF in the Department of Communication & Journalism.
With the students waving the olive branch and pledged support to the event, the authorities have heaved a sigh of relief. Though the university and the city police have reached out to the students to assuage the students, there are a few murmurs on the scale of preparations as the aggrieved feel that their genuine demands are not being addressed.
While some faces look distraught as they have found difficulty in getting entry passes, the mad scramble for passes at the Engineering college, the nodal office to redress pass related issues and the centenary office is a reflection on the large-scale enthusiasm.
It’s overwhelming to be part of the Centenary. Almost everyone who studies here develops a certain attachment with the university. The best thing about OU is that everyone feels at home here. That has not been the case in other colleges where I have studied earlier, said B Ramakrishna.
Stuthi G, a BE second year student of electronics, says, “I’m lucky to be a student here at the university at the time of its centenary. Not everyone will get this sort of opportunity. Everyone from our class is making it a point to attend the events scheduled on all three days. We have also registered as volunteers for the event.”
“Though I have been here only for a week, I have noticed that lots of people have been coming to OU enquiring about the centenary celebrations and the preparations for the same,” says Komariah, a security guard. “It’s a very festive atmosphere all around.”
“The university is looking so beautiful,” gushes Radha, a third year civil engineering student. “All of us are really excited about being a part of this mega event.”
Adds her classmate, Moinudeen, “Everyone’s thrilled about the President’s visit. The only question on everyone’s lips is whether you’ve got an entry pass for the function!”
Students at the Arts College are busy taking selfies and groupfies in front of the huge centenary hoardings that have been put up on the roadside. Says S Shekhar of the Communication Department, “It’s a once in a lifetime event, and it’s rare to be a part of celebrations of this scale.”
Even those who are not part of the university are in the “Centenary Celebrations” mood. Mohammed Fazal Shareef, an auto driver, has heard about the President coming to the campus on the 26 April.
“They have repaired the roads too,” he comments. “I’m looking forward to the cultural programmes which will be held in the evenings.” The centenary may not witness all the royal paraphernalia, regalia, but it is definitely a moment to savour.