Demand for renaming JNU: Here are some universities, colleges that have had their names changed

As we debate JNU's name change, let's look at a few other educational institutions across the globe who have had their names changed in the past 
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: PTI)
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: PTI)

BJP National General Secretary and former Karnataka minister CT Ravi on Monday called for Jawaharlal Nehru University to be renamed as Swami Vivekananda University as the life of "Bharat's patriotic saint will inspire generations to come". "It is Swami Vivekananda who stood for the 'Idea of Bharat'. His philosophy & values signify the 'Strength of Bharat'. It is only right that Jawaharlal Nehru University is renamed as Swami Vivekananda University. Life of Bharat's patriotic Saint will inspire generations to come," he tweeted.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled a statue of Swami Vivekananda at the JNU campus and said "It is our responsibility to realise Swami Vivekananda's vision for India. When we were oppressed during colonialism, Swami Vivekananda went to Michigan University in the earlier part of the last century and had said that even though this century is yours, the next century will belong to India. It is our responsibility to realise this statement and vision."

As we debate about JNU's name change (or the lack of it), let's look at a few other educational institutions across the globe who have had their names changed in the past few years.

West Bengal University of Technology renamed after Maulana Azad

The 15-year-old West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT), located in Nadia, West Bengal, to which over 200 private and some government-controlled engineering colleges are affiliated, was renamed the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology in 2015. "The university is being renamed to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Azad. It will be a fitting tribute to the freedom fighter and the country's first education minister," the higher education department officials had said at the time.

They keep changing names in the USA
At least 500 universities and colleges in the United States have been renamed over the past few decades. Some of the well-known institutions include the Arizona State University (formerly known as Tempe Normal School), California Institute of Technology or CalTech (formerly known as Throop University; Throop Polytechnic Institute; Throop College of Technology), Columbia University (formerly known as King's College; Columbia College), University of California, Los Angeles (formerly known as Southern Branch of the University of California) and numerous others.

The government isn't in favour of renaming varsities

A University Grants Commission panel in 2017 had recommended the change in the names of Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University saying they do not reflect their secular character. The government made it clear that it had no intention to change the names. "AMU and BHU are very old institutions, and we do not intend to change their names. We formed a committee to look into the administrative, academic and research audits of universities. The mandate of the committee is to look into the administrative, academic and research audits of universities. We will not take cognisance of what they have recommended outside of this," the then Union Education Minister Prakash Javadekar had told the media.

The problem with Prayagraj

Recently, in May 2020, the Allahabad University’s executive council rejected requests to change the varsity's name after the city was renamed Prayagraj in 2018. The request to change the university’s name had come from numerous individuals, groups, as well as government officials after the Yogi Adityanath government renamed Allahabad to Prayagraj.

Knock University off your name: PECUT and Christ University

Chandigarh-based PEC University of Technology and Bengaluru's Christ University have rechristened themselves after the UGC pulled them up in 2017 for including "university" in their names despite their deemed to be varsity status. The PEC University of Technology decided to switch back to its former name Punjab Engineering College and the Christ University decided to use just 'Christ' with Deemed To BE University in parentheses. This happened to hundreds of engineering institutes that had the deemed university status conferred on them.

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