Banaras Hindu University

Banaras Hindu University (Hindi: [kaʃi hind̪u viʃvəvid̪yaləy], BHU), formerly Central Hindu College, is a public central university located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It was established jointly in 1916 by the Maharaja of Darbhanga Rameshwar Singh,[4] Madan Mohan Malaviya, Sunder Lal [5] and British Theosophist and Home Rule League founder Annie Besant.[6] With over 30,000 students residing in campus, it is the largest residential university in Asia.[7]

Banaras Hindu University
Banaras Hindu University seal.svg
The seal of Banaras Hindu University, depicting Goddess Saraswati
Former name
Central Hindu College
Motto in English
"Knowledge imparts immortality"
Established1916; 105 years ago (1916)
FoundersMadan Mohan Malaviya
Annie Besant
Rameshwar Singh
Sunder Lal
ChancellorGiridhar Malaviya[1]
Vice-ChancellorRakesh Bhatnagar[2]
RectorV. K. Shukla
VisitorPresident of India
Location, ,
CampusMultiple sites
MascotGoddess Saraswati

Coordinates: 25°16′04″N 82°59′21″E / 25.2677203°N 82.9890695°E / 25.2677203; 82.9890695

The university's main campus spread over 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) was built on land donated by the Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh, the hereditary ruler of Banaras ("Kashi" being an alternative name for Banaras or Varanasi). The south campus, spread over 2,700 acres (11 km2),[8] hosts the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agriculture Science Centre)[9] and is located in Barkachha in Mirzapur district, about 60 km (37 mi) from Banaras.[10]

BHU is organised into six institutes and 14 faculties (streams) and about 140 departments.[11][12] As of 2017, the total student enrolment at the university is 27,359[13] coming from 48 countries.[14] It has over 75 hostels for resident students. Several of its faculties and institutes include arts (FA - BHU), commerce (Faculty of Commerce, Banaras Hindu University), management studies (Institute of Management Studies Banaras Hindu University|I.M.St. - BHU), science (I.Sc. - BHU), performing arts (FPA-BHU), law (FL-BHU), agricultural science (Institute of Agricultural Science, Banaras Hindu University|I.A.S. - BHU), medical science (Institute of Medical Science, Banaras Hindu University|I.M.S. - BHU) and environment and sustainable development (Institute of Environment And Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University|I.E.S.D. - BHU) along with departments of linguistics, journalism & mass communication, among others. The university's engineering institute was designated as an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT BHU) in June 2012.

BHU celebrated its centenary year in 2015–2016. The Centenary Year Celebration Cell organised various programs including cultural programs, feasts, competitions and Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya Birth Anniversary on 25 December 2015.[15]


Statue of Madan Mohan Malaviya at the entrance of Shri Vishwanath Mandir

The Banaras Hindu University was jointly established by Madan Mohan Malaviya. A prominent lawyer and an Indian independence activist, Malaviya considered education as the primary means for achieving a national awakening.[16]

At the 21st Conference of the Indian National Congress in Benares in December 1905, Malaviya publicly announced his intent to establish a university in Varanasi. Malaviya continued to develop his vision for the university with inputs from other Indian nationalists and educationists. He published his plan in 1911. The focus of his arguments was the prevailing poverty in India and the decline in income of Indians compared to Europeans. The plan called for the focus on technology and science, besides the study of India's religion and culture:

"The millions mired in poverty here can only get rid (of it) when science is used in their interest. Such maximum application of science is only possible when scientific knowledge is available to Indians in their own country."[17]

Malaviya's plan evaluated whether to seek government recognition for the university or operate without its control. He decided in favour of the former for various reasons. Malaviya also considered the question of medium of instruction and decided to start with English given the prevalent environment, and gradually add Hindi and other Indian languages. A distinguishing characteristic of Malaviya's vision was the preference for a residential university. All other Indian universities of the period, such as the universities in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, etc., were affiliating universities which only conducted examinations and awarded degrees to students of their affiliated colleges.[18] Malaviya had supported Annie Besant's cause and in 1903, he had raised 250,000 Rupees in donations to finance the construction of the school's hostel.[19] In 1907 Besant had applied for a royal charter to establish a university. However, there was no response from the British government.

Following the publication of Malviya's plan, Besant met Malviya and in April 1911 they agreed to unite their forces to build the university in Varanasi.[20]

Malaviya soon left his legal practice to focus exclusively on developing the university and his independence activities.[21] On 22 November 1911, he registered the Hindu University Society to gather support and raise funds for building the university.[22] He spent the next four years gathering support and raising funds for the university. Malaviya sought and received early support from the Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh and Rameshwar Singh Bahadur of Raj Darbhanga.[18] Thakur Jadunath Singh of Arkha along with other noble houses of United Provinces contributed for the development of the university.

In October 1915, with support from Malaviya's allies in the Indian National Congress, the Banaras Hindu University Bill was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council.[23]

BHU was finally established in 1916, the first university in India that was the result of a private individual's efforts. The foundation for the main campus of the university was laid by Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy of India, on Vasant Panchami 4 February 1916.[20][24] To promote the university's expansion, Malviya invited eminent guest speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jagadish Chandra Bose, C. V. Raman, Prafulla Chandra Roy, Sam Higginbottom, Patrick Geddes, and Besant to deliver a series of what are now called The University Extension Lectures between 5–8 February 1916. Gandhi's lecture on the occasion was his first public address in India.[24]

Sunder Lal was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor, and the university began its academic session[6] the same month with classes initially held at the Central Hindu School in the Kamachha area, while the campus was being built on over 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) of land donated by the Kashi Naresh on the outskirts of the city. The Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, Mir Osman Ali Khan, also made a donation of ₹1 lakh for the university.[25][26][27]

The university's anthem, known as the Kulgeet, was composed by Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.[28]


Main campusEdit

Dept of Electrical Engineering IIT-BHU
Sir Sundarlal Hospital
Ruiya Medical Hostel, BHU

BHU is located on the southern edge of Varanasi, near the banks of the river Ganges. Development of the main campus, spread over 1,300 acres (5.3 km2), started in 1916 on land donated by the then Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh. The campus layout approximates a semicircle, with intersecting roads laid out along the radii or in arcs. Buildings built in the first half of the 20th century are fine examples of Indo-Gothic architecture.

The campus has over 60 hostels offering residential accommodation for over 12,000 students.[29] On-campus housing is also available to a majority of the full-time faculty.

The main entrance gate and boundary wall was built on the donation made by Maharaja of Balrampur, Maharaja Pateshvari Prashad Singh.

The Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Library is the main library on campus and houses over 1.3 million volumes as of 2011. Completed in 1941, its construction was financed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda. In addition to the main library, there are three institute libraries, eight faculty libraries and over 25 departmental libraries available to students and staff.

Sir Sunderlal Hospital on the campus is a teaching hospital for the Institute of Medical Sciences. Established in 1926 with 96 beds, it has since been expanded to over 900 beds and is the largest tertiary referral hospital in the region.

Shri Vishwanath Mandir has the tallest temple tower in the world.[30]

The most prominent landmark is the Shri Vishwanath Mandir, located in the centre of the campus. The foundation for this 252 feet (77 m) high complex of seven temples was laid in March 1931, and took almost three decades to complete.[31]

Bharat Kala Bhavan is an art and archaeological museum on the campus. Established in January 1920, its first chairman was Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, with his nephew Abanindranath Tagore as the vice-chairman. The museum was expanded and gained prominence with the efforts of Rai Krishnadasa.[32] The museum is best known for its collection of Indian paintings, but also includes archaeological artefacts, textiles and costumes, Indian philately as well as literary and archival materials.[33] The Alice Boner Gallery was also set up at Bharat Kala Bhavan with the assistance of the Alice Boner Foundation in 1989 to mark the birth centenary of Alice Boner.[34]

Rajiv Gandhi South CampusEdit

The south campus is located in Barkachha in Mirzapur district,[8] about 60 km (37 mi) southwest of the main campus. Spread over an area of over 2,700 acres (11 km2), it was transferred as a lease in perpetuity to BHU by the Bharat Mandal Trust in 1979.[35]

It hosts the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agricultural Science Centre), with focus on research in agricultural techniques, agro-forestry and bio-diversity appropriate to the Vindhya Range region.[36] The South Campus features a lecture complex, library, student hostels and faculty housing, besides administrative offices.[37]

Halls of residenceEdit

BHU is a fully residential University with a total of 62 hostels - 41 hostels for male and 21 hostels for female students.

There are four separate hostels for international students. These four include an International House Annexe for female students with an intake capacity of 24. Hostels are named after several historically important figures such as Raja Baldev Das Jugal Kishore Birla, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rani Laxmibai and M. Visvesvaraya. The faculty has one of the oldest hostels in the University named Birla Hostel constructed in 1921 by the industrialist Shri Jugal Kishore Birla in the memory of his father Raja Baldev Das Birla. It is a large hostel and for administrative purposes it was divided into three sub-hostels - Birla A, Birla B and Birla C; about a decade back[when?]. Undergraduate students are accommodated in Birla A while Birla B is meant for Research Scholars and Birla C for Postgraduate students.[citation needed]

Organisation and AdministrationEdit


The President of India is the visitor of the university. The university's formal head is the chancellor, though this is a titular figure, and is not involved with the day-to-day running of the university. The chancellor is elected by the members of the University Court. The university's chief executive is the vice-chancellor, appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of the court.

The court is the supreme governing body of the university and exercises all the powers of the university, not otherwise provided for by the Banaras Hindu University Act, and the statutes, ordinances and regulations of the university. The Executive Council is the highest executive body of the University. The Academic Council is the highest academic body of the University and is responsible for the maintenance of standards of instruction, education and examination within the university. It has the right to advise the Executive Council on all academic matters. The Finance Committee is responsible for recommending financial policies, goals, and budgets. [38]

In May 2018, Rakesh Bhatnagar was as vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. He previously served as a professor of biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University. [39] In November 2018, Justice Girdhar Malviya, retired judge of Allahabad High Court, was named the new chancellor of BHU. Justice Malviya is the grandson of BHU founder Madan Mohan Malviya. [40]


Banaras Hindu University maintains 6 institutes.

Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU

The Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development (IESD) aiming to develop and advance the knowledge of technology and processes for sustainable development was started in 2010.[41] The Institute of Management Studies is the business school of Banaras Hindu University. Established in 1968 as the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS, BHU), it is among the earliest management schools in India. It was renamed to its current name on 16 December 2015.[42]


Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University

Academic faculties of the university include:[43]

Faculty of Performing ArtsEdit

The Faculty of Performing Arts offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate courses in performing arts. It was founded in 1950 and had several renowned and award-winning artists and musicians as faculty members.[44][45] Faculty of Performing Arts was started by Omkarnath Thakur in 1950. It was initially instituted as a college called "Music and Fine Arts". In 1966, under Govind Malviya and founding principal Omkarnath Thakur, the college was restructured to a faculty, with three departments (Vocal music, Instrumental music and Musicology). Faculty of Performing Arts claims to start the first department of Musicology in India headed by musicologists Prem Lata Sharma.[44]

Faculty of Social SciencesEdit

Samanvaya Bhawan, Faculty of Social Sciences (Old PG Building) as seen from Faculty of Arts building

The Faculty of Social Sciences offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Social science. It was bifurcated from the Faculty of Arts in 1971. It includes the departments of Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.[46]

Other than the departments, there are five centres which carry on the studies in various fields, namely the Centre for the Study of Nepal, Centre for Women's Study and Development, Centre for Integrated Rural Development, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusion Policy and the Malviya Centre for Peace Research.[47]

The faculty holds three chairs, the currently (as of 2018) vacant Babu Jagjivan Ram Chair for Social Research, commemorating Jagjivan Ram and his contributions,[48] the Dr. Ambedkar Chair for Nationalism & National Integration established in 2016[49] and the Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Chair, established in 2017.[50]

Currently, Koushal Kishor Mishra is the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences. This faculty also has several professors at administrative positions likewise Professor Sanjay Srivastava as the Member of BHU Court and Professor Ram Pravesh Pathak (Former Dean) as Chairman of Student Grievance Cell.

Faculty of Visual ArtsEdit

The Faculty of Visual Arts offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in applied and visual arts. It was founded in 1916.[51] It includes five departments:

Inter-disciplinary schoolsEdit

School of BiotechnologyEdit

School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Banaras Hindu University

The School of Biotechnology (SBT) is a center for postgraduate teaching and research under the aegis of Institute of Science of the BHU.[52][53] It was established in 1986 with funding from the Department of Biotechnology,[54] of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. It offers MSc and PhD programmes in Biotechnology.

The interdisciplinary program involves the partnership between the Institute of Science, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Institute of Technology at BHU. Notable faculty include Arvind Mohan Kayastha.[55]

DBT-BHU Interdisciplinary School of Life SciencesEdit

The Interdisciplinary School of Life Sciences (ISLS) is a joint initiative of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and the BHU. It was established with a grant of INR 238.9 million from the DBT.[56]

DST Centre for Interdisciplinary Mathematical SciencesEdit

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences (CIMS) focuses on research and education in mathematics, modelling and statistics. It was established under the management of the Faculty of Science, with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST).[57] The centre imparts post-graduate education and research with participation from the Department of Mathematics, Department of Statistics and Department of Computer Science of the Institute of Science and the Department of Applied Mathematics of the IIT-BHU. It regularly organises training programmes, workshops, Seminars and conferences.

Centre of Food Science and TechnologyEdit

The Centre of Food Science & Technology (CFST) is an inter-disciplinary research centre with collaboration between the Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) focusing on food processing technology.[58]

Research centresEdit

Apart from specialised centres directly funded by DBT, DST, ICAR and ISRO, a large number of departments under the Institutes of Sciences, Engineering & Technology and Faculty of Social Sciences receive funding from the DST Fund for Improvement of Science & Technology Infrastructure (FIST) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) Special Assistance Programme (SAP). UGC SAP provides funds under its Centre of Advanced Study (CAS), Department of Special Assistance (DSA) and Departmental Research Support (DRS) programmes.[59]

BHU research centres include:

  • DBT Centre of Genetic Disorders[60]
  • Center for Environmental Science and Technology[61]
  • Nano science and Technology Center
  • Hydrogen Energy Center
  • UGC Advanced Immunodiagnostic Training and Research Center
  • Centre for Experimental Medicine and Surgery
  • Center for Women's Studies and Development (CWSD)[62]
  • Center for the Study of Nepal (CNS)[63]
  • Malviya Center for Peace Research (MCPR)[64]
  • Center for Rural Integrated Development (CIRD)[65]
  • Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP)[66]
  • DST Centre for Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences

Affiliated colleges and schoolsEdit




BHU is organised into 6 institutes and 14 faculties (streams). The institutes are administratively autonomous, with their own budget, management and academic bodies.[70]


Banaras Hindu University conducts national level undergraduate (UET) and postgraduate (PET) entrance tests usually during May–June for admission for which registrations begin usually in February–March.[71] Admissions are done according to merit in the entrance tests, subject to fulfilling of other eligibility requirements. Admissions to BTech/B.Pharm., MTech/M.Pharm. are done through JEE and GATE respectively. Admission to MBA and MBA-IB are done through IIM-CAT score and also through separate BHU-MBA entrance tests. Admissions for PhD are done on the basis of either qualification of National Eligibility Test (NET) by the candidates or through the scores of CRET (Common Research Entrance Test). Admissions in IMS are done through PMT exam. BHU attracts a number of foreign learners. Foreign students are admitted through the application submitted to the Indian mission in his/her country or by his/her country's mission in India.

BHU conducts UG entrance exam every year in May. The offline exam is held for 5166 seats. The total exam duration is two hours with 150 MCQs and the total marks is 450. There are seven participating colleges including BHU Faculty of Law and six constituent colleges.[72]


Central Library, BHU

The Banaras Hindu University Library system was established from a collection donated by P.K. Telang in the memory of his father Justice Kashinath Trimbak Telang in 1917. The collection was housed in the Telang Hall of the Central Hindu College, Kamachha. In 1921, the library was moved to the Central Hall of the Arts College (now the Faculty of Arts).

The present Central Library of BHU was established with a donation from Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda. Upon his return from the First round Table Conference, Gaekwad wanted a library built on the pattern of the British Library and its reading room, which was then located in the British Museum. On Malviya's suggestion, he made the donation to build the library on the BHU campus.[73]

The Gaekwad Library is a designated Manuscript Conservation Centre (MCC) of the National Mission for Manuscripts,[74] established in 2003.[75]

By 1931, the library had built a collection of around 60,000 volumes. The trend of donation of personal and family collection to the library continued as late as the 1940s with the result that it has unique pieces of rarities of books and journals dating back to the 18th century.

As of 2011, the BHU Library System consisted of the Central Library and 3 Institute Libraries, 8 Faculty Libraries and over 25 Departmental Libraries, with a collection of at least 1.3 million volumes.[73] The digital library is available to students and staff and provides online access to thousands of journals, besides access to large collections of online resources[76] through the National Informatics Centre's DELNET[77] and UGC's INFLIBNET.[78]


University rankings
General – international
QS (World) (2020)[79]801-1000
QS (Asia) (2020)[80]177
QS (BRICS) (2019)[81]90
Times (World) (2020)[82]601-800
Times (Asia) (2020)[83]167
Times (Emerging) (2020)[84]169
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2020)[85]10
NIRF (Universities) (2020)[86]3
The Week (Universities) (2019)[87]2
Outlook India (Universities) (2020)[88]7
Engineering – India
NIRF (2019)[89]11
The Week (2019)[90]9
Medical – India
Outlook India (2019)[91]8
The Week (2019)[92]6
India Today (2020)[93]7
Law – India
The Week (2019)[94]5
Outlook India (2019)[95]6
Business/Management – India
NIRF (2020)[96]36

Internationally, BHU was ranked 801–1000 in the QS World University Rankings of 2020.[79] The same rankings ranked it 177 in Asia in 2020[80] and 90 among BRICS nations in 2019.[81] It was ranked 601–800 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2020[82] and 167 in Asia in 2020.[83]

In India, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranked it tenth overall in 2020[85] and third among universities.[86] It also ranked it 36 in the management ranking.[96]

Its engineering institute, IIT, was ranked 11 by the NIRF Engineering ranking for 2019.[89] In 2019, it was ranked 9th among engineering colleges in India by The Week.[90]

The Faculty of Law, Banaras Hindu University was ranked 5th in India by Outlook India's "India's Top 30 Law Colleges In 2019"[95] and seventh in India by The Week's "Top Law Colleges 2019".[94]

The Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University was ranked seventh among medical colleges in India in 2020 by India Today,[93] sixth by The Week[92] and eight by Outlook India.[91]

Student LifeEdit


BHU observes Saraswati puja day (also known as Vasant Panchami) as its foundation day. Goddess Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and nature. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati.

There is also an intra-university fest 'Spandan', where students represent their faculty/institute in various arts competition like literature (writing essay, poem, debates), painting, sketches, vocal music, dancing, singing, drama, and mimicry. It is held every year after Vasant Panchami in month of February or March.

Awards and medalsEdit

The following awards and medals are given to meritorious students in BHU:

  • BHU Medal is given to students who secure the first position in their respective departments or faculties.



On 21 September 2017 a woman reported sexual harassment to the university. She claimed that the university responded by blaming her.[97] The next day, 22 September, students organised a protest of the university's treatment of women.

The university's administration filed a First information report against hundreds of students. Security officers used Baton charge in an attempt to get protesters to disperse. Various protesters reported injuries.[98]

Notable alumni, faculty and staffEdit

Alumni and faculty of BHU have gained prominence in India and across the world. Among BHU's administrators was Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who went on to become the President of India. Other famous administrators include Sunder Lal, K. L. Shrimali, Moti Lal Dhar.

The university's alumni include Raj Narain, Rakhaldas Bandyopadhyay, C.N.R Rao, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Bhupen Hazarika, Shyam Sunder Surolia, Veena Pandey, A. K. Narain, Kamalesh Chandra Chakrabarty, Ashok Agarwal, Jagdish Kashyap, T. V. Ramakrishnan, Harkishan Singh, Narla Tata Rao, Amara Ranatunga, Patcha Ramachandra Rao, Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, Basanti Dulal Nagchaudhuri, Ahmad Hasan Dani, Kota Harinarayana, Kothapalli Jayashankar, Krishan Kant, Manick Sorcar, Satish K. Tripathi, Shashi P. Karna, Tapan Singhel, and Prem Saran Satsangi. Amongst its famous international students are Robert M. Pirsig and Koenraad Elst.

BHU's faculty have included Ganesh Prasad, Birbal Sahni, Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar, Prafulla Kumar Jena,[99] Omkarnath Thakur, N. Rajam, Saket Kushwaha and A. K. Narain.

See alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

  • Leah Renold, A Hindu Education: Early Years of the Banaras Hindu University (Oxford University Press).

External linksEdit