What's in a name? A crore rupees, no less

Heritage at risk: A view of the University College buildings in Mangalore. DH PhotoThe 142-year-old University College, one of the very few ‘red buildings’ in Mangalore depicting the glorious past with high heritage value in terms of architecture is now bone of contention between two groups.

The College, where illustrious freedom fighters like Karnad Sadashiv Rao and social activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya studied and which was visited by Rabindranath Tagore in 1922, is the battlefield between a group of people including philanthropist P Dayanand Pai who want the college to be named after him, and another that is vehemently opposing the move.

Apparently, the demand has come in the wake of renaming a few government colleges after donors. “How can you compare other colleges with the University College which has got an illustrious history of 142 years,” questions a former Syndicate Member.

The University College got a fillip when builder and alumni Dayananda Pai came forward to develop the college. “Out of the Rs 1.4 crore needed for the management block, Pai alone pooled in Rs 1.10 crore and the building too has been named after him. On the other hand, Pai in a letter has sought permission from Mangalore University to adopt the college to make it a model college.

More contribution

Sources said Pai is ready to donate more and all he wants is just that the college is named after him. On the other hand, sources in the university said that a few other donors have backtracked from donating as a block has been named after Pai.

Alumni Association President D K Chowta (1955-1959 batch student), said he sees no need for controversy. “Others may find fault in the demand, but I don’t, as Pai has been generous in contributing to the welfare of the college,” he said and going down memory lane added that though the College did not have brilliant students, it produced some of the best politicians and social workers the country has seen.

“Be it Quit India Movement or the freedom struggle, the Government College students always were part of any struggle.”

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, when contacted over phone, too said that he does not want to comment on the issue. “The decision is left to the University authorities and I don’t want to comment on it,” he said.

Amazing alumni

Right from Panje Mangesh Rao (the pioneer of Kannada short stories) who was a student of this institution in 1892 (also taught in later years), to the present Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, the institution has produced illustrious personalities. They include Rashtrakavi Manjeshwara Govinda Pai, Dr Shivarama Karanth, former deputy speaker of Lok Sabha P M Sayeed, RBI former Governor Benegal Rama Rao, social activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, freedom fighter Karnad Sadashiva Rao, social reformer Kudmul Ranga Rao, statesman A B Shetty, banker Suryanarayana Adiga, floriculturist Manmohan Attavar, Indian cricketer Budhi Kunderan, Justice Jagannath Shetty and Brigadier Mahadeva Gokhale, among others.

Comments (+)