The over 150-year-old Central College, which has produced a long list of iconic figures, including three Bharat Ratna recipients, has been almost like an abandoned fort ever since the Bangalore University campus shifted to Jnana Bharati on the outskirts of the city three decades ago.
After the announcement of a Bharat Ratna for Prof. C.N.R. Rao, head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, the historic institution is once again in focus. Dr. Rao did his B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry here. The other two Bharat Ratna recipients — the first Indian Governor General of India, C. Rajagopalachari, and Sir M. Visvesvaraya are also alumni of this prestigious institution. It is believed that the institution once hosted Nobel laureate-physicist Sir C.V. Ramam, who was here to explain the Raman Effect to young science students. Mr. Raman was also a recipient of the Bharat Ratna.
Over the past decades, two events led to the campus losing its glory. One, shifting of the university, and the need to find a place for the National Law School of India University. The college, which had an aura around it with the presence of great professors and researchers in various disciplines and humanities, lost its shine when most departments shifted from the campus.
Except for the Department of Chemistry, all others were replaced by the office of the Vice-Chancellor. The post of principal of what was once called as the University College of Science was abolished long ago. The ground on the same premises gave way to the Jnana Jyoti Auditorium.
Elated by the recent announcement, BU Vice-Chancellor B. Thimme Gowda told The Hindu that he would take up schemes to restore the lost glory of academic excellence of the institution by starting new courses and research works. He said the university would felicitate Prof. Rao and announce programmes on science when it celebrates its golden jubilee next year.