The cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra—Pune, formerly known as Poona, truly lives up to its title’s expectations. A mix of the traditional and the modern, this city is given the title of being the ‘Queen of the Deccan’.
When you hear the word ‘Pune’, three things immediately come to your mind—culture, the IT-industry and education. With hundreds of prestigious educational institutions calling the city of Pune their home, this city is aptly known as the Oxford of the East. The city has a large student population attending a variety of courses such as engineering, management, law, liberal arts, and mass communication.
4 Reason Why Pune is called the ‘Oxford of the East’
The first Prime Minister of Independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave the city of Pune this title during his visit to the city in the late 1950s. He was highly impressed with the prestigious educational institutes and research centres that the city had.
Even after over six decades, the city still lives up to this title given to it by Pandit Nehru.
1. Pune—City with a Rich History of Education
The former capital of the Maratha Empire, Pune is a hub of culture and arts. This city of forts has a rich cultural and artistic history and a rich history of education and leaders too.
The country’s first school for girls was started in the Bhide Wada in Pune in the year 1848 by eminent reformers Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife, Savitribai Phule. Savitribai Phule is also known to be the first female teacher of India and was taught how to read and write by Mahatma Phule.
Despite facing opposition from various societal elements, the Phules continued the school’s running and later on, opened another 18 schools for girls in Pune.
Later, in the 1880s, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnudas Chiplunkar and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar founded the Deccan Education Society which runs prestigious institutions such as the Fergusson College and the New English School.
Vasudev Balwant Phadke was co-founder of the Maharashtra Education Society. Both the Deccan and Maharashtra education society run numerous schools and colleges till date. The College of Engineering (COEP) which is located in Shivajinagar was founded in 1554 and is the third oldest engineering college in Asia.
2. Learning Hub for International Students
Students come here to gain knowledge and education not only from different parts of India but also from as many as 64 different nations of the world. Currently, there are over 14,000 international students enrolled in the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in the Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses.
Students, especially from the Middle East and Asian countries, prefer the city for its quality of education. Around one-third of foreign students who come to India for higher education prefer studying in Pune due to its welcoming environment, student-friendly infrastructure, cultural platforms, and reputable academicians.
The SPPU also has an International Students’ Welfare Centre and guides the students through the admission process and the housing.
3. Pune—A Centre for Education and Research
Pune is the second largest city of Maharashtra and is the eighth most populous city in the country. The pleasant weather of the city and the rich cultural heritage has been known to attract many students to the city.
There are many armament and military research organisations in Pune and hence, students who want to study these courses choose the city for their higher education. Television, media and film enthusiasts also choose the city due to the presence of various film, television and mass media institutions such as Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the Lalit Kela Kendra.
Law enthusiasts prefer taking admission to the prestigious ILS Law College and defence enthusiasts to the National Defence Academy.
Talking about schools, Pune has a great number of international as well as regional schools where quality education is imparted. St. Mary’s School, Army Public School, Bishop’s School, Orchid International School and Symbiosis International School are a few examples of the many top schools in the city.
The schools belong to the IB and IGSCE (International) boards as well as SSC (regional board) and ICSE and CBSE (national boards).
4. Pune—Where Tradition Meets Modernity
Dear Reader, you already know about the city’s rich cultural and educational history, but do not forget that the city is an interesting mix of the traditional and the modern. Not only it has a rich nightlife, but also offers a safe space to express yourself through its various platforms.
The city is so developed that all the places such as shopping places, eating joints and entertainment activities cater to the students and have an appeal for the younger crowd. The streets of Pune are abuzz with college and university students undertaking various activities together—be it sipping a hot coffee at the famous Vaishali restaurant or taking a stroll together in the city’s various public parks or catching a movie at the multitude of malls in the city.
It is safe to say that the life in the city of Pune revolves around the young and the curious minds. Pune is also a home to various historical monuments such as the Shaniwar Wada, Vishram Baug Wada, Omkareshwar Temple, and Kasba Ganapati Temple. It also has a proximity to nature and forts such as Sinhagad and Lohagad.
These things add to the list of why Pune is chosen as a place for higher studies apart from the esteemed institutions. An all-round personality development includes extra-curricular and leisure activities and Pune has all these on offer.
The cosmopolitan and multicultural nature of the city is sure to impart a deeper knowledge and understanding of other cultures and walks of life in the young and impressionable minds of students. This is an important step to the overall development of a person.
So, Pune’s title of being the ‘Oxford of the East’ lives up to its expectations with a wide array of faculties, institutions, and leisure activities that it has to offer making it the melting pot of traditional and contemporary thinking.
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum & Memorial, Pune
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