Here’s how it all started...

Main campus, Christ, Bengaluru.

When Jugnu Uberoi was in college, it took him just six minutes from Lavelle Road to reach Christ College on Hosur Road. He did not have to brave the Bengaluru traffic then. Jugnu was 16 when he passed out from the college and he is one among the first batch of students to graduate in 1970. Founded in 1969, today the institution turns 50. Jugnu continues his association with it as the president of the alumni association.

Humble beginnings

When the college was started it had only class 11 to offer and was for boys, “Back then, pre-university(PU) was just one year,” says Jugnu.”We were a small batch of students. Our professors were also young. I recollect playing football with them. It was only in 1988-89 that the institute opened its doors to girls and we went co-ed.”

Jugnu is among the few people who have seen the college along with its share of teething troubles. “Today, we have a large campus to boast of, but we started with a building where half the windows and doors were not installed. So, it was a holiday if it rained,” he says. 

Christ, celebrating its golden jubilee this year, has seen several batches of students graduate from various streams and degrees.

What once started on a six-acre patch on Hosur Road in 1969 now has an expansive campus over 65 acres. And, the institute has three campuses in the city, on Hosur Road, Bannerghatta Road and Kengeri.

“The proposal to start a college was put forth nearly three years before it took shape. We registered as a society under the Mysore Societies Registration Act,1904 and started offering only Class 11 under Bangalore University. There was no concept of pre-university then although Karnataka was one of the first states to have a separate department for PU education later,” says Fr Thomas C Mathew, vice chancellor, Christ.

The institute had sought permission to function from the existing Dharmaram College, only to be denied stating that they had to have a building of their own. “What we see now as Block I on the campus is where we started functioning from,” says Fr Thomas. They were rejected twice. However, a year later they ventured into offering degree courses in Arts, Science and Commerce. From watching a stretch that was green with paddy fields turning into one chocked with traffic jams, Fr Thomas has several memories to share.

The institute today offers over 130 courses in UG, PG, MPhil and PhD levels. To grow to this mark, Fr Thomas says that the choice of teachers has played a key role. “Being a grant-in-aid institution to starting self- financing courses was a challenge. The concept of self-financing teachers was also introduced. Pay parity was introduced between the two categories of teachers so as to maintain the quality. It was through the tuition fee that we started to pay the teachers,” he adds.

He also shared a copy of a booklet that one of the students from the first batch returned to the college. The tuition fee was Rs 22 per instalment, with eight instalments per anum. The PU fee was Rs 24 with a marks card fee of Rs 2 charged by the Bangalore University.

The college that has seen over 65,000 students graduate since its inception has plans to expand to two other states in India and have an additional campus in Bengaluru as well.

Linguistic flavour

Anil Joseph Pinto, registrar, Christ, says that the college has over the years given prominence to the local language. Even today, the Kannada Sangha of the college is well known in the State. Formed in 1972, the sangha has been a launch pad for several Kannada writers as the college has been encouraging several of them to publish their works and even funded it, says Anil.
Srinivasa Raju, a lecturer, was entrusted the responsibility of starting the sangha with the institution granting it funds. “In 1981, the sangha’s Ayda Kathegalu book was prescribed as a textbook by Bangalore University’s Kannada Department,”says Anil. When Christ, now a deemed-to-be university, got its first logo , heads of the institute chose to have Kannada on it, says Fr Thomas. “There was a debate on what languages to have. We had to choose among English, Sanskrit, Kannada and other languages, and we chose to use Kannada,” he says.

The institute has over the years been home to several other associations as well. With the establishment of the college, the NCC(National Cadet Corps) Army wing was established and over the years, there have been several representations made at the Republic Day parades. Yet another active centre that the college has is the Centre for Social Action through which volunteers have been assisting several such who are unable to afford a quality education.

Some of the noted alumni of the college are M N Reddi (Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru), Krishna Byre Gowda (State Minister of Rural Development, Law and Parliamentary Affairs), Shilpa Nag (IAS officer) Sabu Varkey (Hockey), and Imtiaz Ahmed (International Cricket Referee). 

 

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