While the confusion on whether Osmania Arts College, Hyderabad has turned 75 or 95 continues, another iconic Arts college is completing 100 years. Fondly called “The Grand Old Lady of Rayalaseema,” the Government Arts College of Anantapur will celebrate its centenary from January, 2015 till January, 2016.
The Arts College has the distinction of producing dignitaries in different fields in the 100 years of its existence, competing with colleges at the national-level with its quality of education. The college is the biggest in four Rayalaseema districts and second biggest in the state in terms of student intake and infrastructure. From its humble beginnings as a municipal high school in 1914, the institution was upgraded as a junior college in 1916 and later as a centre for UG and PG courses. It’s fame spread far and wide, with illustrious lecturers preferring transfer from the Madras Province College to it.
Former president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan served this college as a lecturer. By 1914, Radhakrishnan’s reputation as a scholar was spreading and he was posted to Anantapur in 1916. College alumni M. Sethumadhavachar, 82, who retired as a headmaster, recalls, “‘Only the best lecturers were posted to Anatnapur from the Madras Province College, as it was on par with that college those days in terms of discipline and high standards of education.” The college was started with 41 students with S.E. Raganathan as the first princi-pal from 1916-17. It now has a strength of 7,000 students. “The college initially offered five courses and now it offers 39 UG courses and 13 PG courses. Initially. its hostel could accommodate only 22 students, now it is home to nearly 2,000,” principal Rangaswamy said, adding that its library has 70,000 volumes. Drama Hall in the college is a cultural hub for many cultural activities in the city. The college has two grounds that mould many sportsmen and athletes in many events at national level.
The historic college can take legitimate pride in its alumni, with a former president serving as a faculty of philosophy and another as a its student.
- Former president Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, former CM D. Sanjeevaiah, Communist leader Tarimela Nagi Reddy and present APCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy, MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy, CPI secretary K. Ramakrishna and Uravakonda MLA Viswewar Reddy and many others were students of the Arts College.
- At least 25 civil servants, such as Roddam Prabhakar Rao. P.L. Sanjeeva Reddy and A.K. Khan are part of the college’s history.
- Judges of Supreme Court and High Court — Chinnapa Reddy, S. Obula Reddy and Motilal B. Naik were among the distinguished alumnus of the college.
- Scientists U.R. Rao, D.V. Red-dy, D.S. Rao and B.S.N. Rao are a few of the college students.
- Many products of this college are at the highest positions of All India Services. Among artists, two names — S.V. Srinivasa Rao and Roddam Hanumantha Rao —stand foremost