Patna College needs urgent restoration, say experts

The 150-year-old institution, Patna college, is in dire need of restoration, both "institutional" and "architectural.

PTI| Updated: Jan 08, 2014, 12:45 PM IST

Patna: British author EM Forster referred to it in his book "A Passage to India" and director Satyajit Ray shot his award-winning film "Seemabaddha" on its picturesque campus, but today this 150-year-old institution is in dire need of restoration, both "institutional" and "architectural".

Hailed once as the `Oxford of the East`, Patna College will tomorrow complete 151 years of its existence.

However, its famed hostels and celebrated corridors built more than a century ago have now become a "picture of decay" owing to lack of repair and has left many of its alumni miffed at the state of affairs in the "once-beloved" campus.

Alumnus Shanker Dutt, who did his BA (English) from it during the tumultuous year of the Emergency in 1975, still fondly recalls the academic ambience and rues the decline in educational quality and institutional standards that have taken the "shine off this towering beacon".
"Patna College was not just an iconic symbol of education but of the city as a whole. It was in many ways a seminary of cultural refinements, a crucible of excellence, a veritable symbol of Patna, all that has been lost today," Dutt said.

Now a professor of English at the Patna University, to which the College is affiliated to, Dutt says, after "decades of decay" what the campus now needs is both an "architectural and an institutional restoration".

Eminent historian and author Surendra Gopal and an alumnus himself appealed to the authorities for immediate restoration of the "prized murals in the East Wing".

"I am worried about the iconic Greek-styled murals and motifs inside its East Wing hall of the administration block, crying for restoration before they get lost forever. The government must ensure they are systematically restored," Gopal said.