The journey of an engineering class to a university | By Dr Sohail Ansari, UK


The journey of an engineering class to a university

NED University of Engineering and Technology is the oldest engineering education institute in Pakistan.

The Government has authorised the issuance of a commemorative coin and stamp on its centenary this year. Going back, in May 1970, the NED Engineering College Students Union staged a demonstration in Saddar.

One of its demands was an early construction of a new building for the College. Ultimately, it moved from the congested part of the city, Strachan Road, to a new campus in 1975. It was granted the status of an engineering university on 1st March 1977.

There was a Government institute, Hyderabad Engineering Class, which trained subordinates for the Public Works Department.

That was transferred to Sindh Arts College, Karachi (which was soon after renamed Dayaram Jethmal Sindh College) in 1888-89.

The College evolved under the lead of the Principal, Dr Moses Jones Jackson. The newly formed engineering branch had21 students in 1900. Prof Kotwal was appointed to teach the section.

Those students were given a training certificate. Dr Jackson’s, efforts to obtain a grant of degree for them did not succeed.

Yet, he fondly called them ‘my engineers’. So, let us see how the humble beginning of an engineering class led to an Engineering College. Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw Engineering College is an offshoot of Dayaram Jethmal Sind College. Prior to its inception, Poona Engineering College was the only technical institution in the Presidency. The need for another such College was strongly felt.

Years later, the endeavours of the Principal of D J College, S C Shahani and his associates, Engineer Advani and Mr Butani led to the establishment of Engineering College.

On 29th August 1921, C S Shahani made a collaborative effort to get Engineering Degree classes started to meet the demands of Civil Engineers on the project for completion of the Sukkur Barrage.

Application to this effect was made to the University of Bombay though the Commissioner of Sindh, who was ex-officio President of Sindh Collegiate Association.

The University initially declined the application on the grounds of insufficient finance and insisted on entirely separate buildings for the engineering college as a separate institution.

In 1921, the citizens of the province collected a sum of 53,000 rupees, the Prince of Wales’ Welcome Fund, to commemorate his visit.

Principal Shahani secured those funds for starting a new engineering college on the condition that it would be named after the Prince. It was established under the management of Sindh Collegiate Association which was a registered society of subscribers providing higher education in Sindh.

The foundation stone of the college was laid when the Prince paid a visit to Karachi. Thus, an engineering college was started with Rai Saheb Bhupatrai, Retired Executive Engineer, North Western Railway, as Honorary Principal. Fifty students were enrolled. The new college was named the Prince of Wales Engineering College.

An application for affiliation for First Year Engineering Class was provisionally granted by the University of Bombay in 1922, on condition that a sum of two lakh rupees was provided by the college authorities immediately, and a further sum of rupees one lakh later, for making a full grade college. Rs 20,000 were obtained from Mrs, Puribai Memorial Fund. Rs 40,000 were offered by Messrs.

Vishandas Brothers. Later, Hoshang N E Dinshaw came forward with a magnificent offer of rupees one lakh and a half, provided the college was renamed after his father Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw.

The college authorities accepted the offer, and the college was renamed. The Prince of Wales’ Welcome Fund was since reserved for postgraduate scholarships.

The University of Bombay awarded provisional affiliation to the College on 23rd May 1923, followed by a permanent affiliation in February 1927. From June 1934, the affiliation was extended for its BE degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering also.

The management of the college was vested in the College Board which formed the governing body of the Sind Collegiate Association, and consisted of representatives of Government, of the Association and the contributing Municipalities and District Local Boards. The institution received a grant-in-aid from Government.

Rai Saheb Bhupatrai acted as the interim Honorary Principal until G N Gokhale, Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, was appointed to be the first Principal of the College.

He remained in charge of the institution from July 1923 to June 1935. Following him, the Vice Principal, Professor Sripatrao Balvantrao Junnarkar took the charge.

He did all the spade work to organise and equip the various departments including the Power House, Boiler Room, Hydraulics Laboratory, Engine Room and Machine Shops.

The original NED Engineering College was housed in four blocks of specially erected buildings and two sheds, within the precincts of the D J College. The main block was named Seth Fatehchand Devandas Khilnani Hall.

The other, Bai Puribai and Bacharbai blocks, accommodated the Power House, Electrical and Hydraulic Laboratories and Workshops. The fourth block which completed in 1945, contained a Classroom, office and Civil Drawing Room.

This was built by the Hindustan Construction Company that donated 44,000 rupees. Of two sheds, one housed Carpentry and Smithy Shops; the other, Electrical Laboratory and Engine Room.

The College also offered training of Wireless Operations and three year diploma courses for overseers, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

It became a centre for holding the examinations of the City & Guilds of London Institute. D J College and NED College shared facilities, other resources, and the Board for quite a while.

Following independence, the established college was taken over by the Government of Sindh and renamed as NED Government Engineering College.

It was affiliated to the University of Sindh and later to University of Karachi when it arose in 1951. Thus, a small engineering class became a college before progressing to a university.

—The writer is Consultant Pgysician, Southend University Hospital, Essex, UK.

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