Hyderabad: That the University of Hyderabad offers quality education is well known. Reinforcing the same, its Department of English, for the first time, has earned for itself a place among the Top 200 best places to study English in the annual survey of the QS World University Rankings. It is ranked among the 150-200 category alongside the departments of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and the University of Kolkata. However, the Delhi University figured among the Top 100. “It is very satisfying to know this. We have always known that ours is one of the best departments in the country,” said Prof Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH.
But what makes the department special and different from its counterparts in other universities? Prof Sachidananda Mohanty of the department, explained, “The syllabus is updated every three years. We have a very good publication profile from both students and faculty and we always try to combine the best of tradition with innovative concepts.” The department takes pride in some of the courses it offers. Prof Mohanty pointed out, “Catastrophe Fiction, Dalit Writings, Campus Novel, Reading the Popular and Reading Spy Fiction Today are some of the unique courses we offer.”
With about 150-odd students and 17 faculty positions, the department offers MA, M Phil and PhD. “We also have a unique drama club, poet in residence-a poetry club, language lab, special collection of books, apart from a collaboration with the Srinivas Rayaprol Trust,” added Prof Mohanty, who specialises in DH Lawrence and 20th century fiction, women’s writings, intellectual history, 19th century and post-colonial literature.
Some of the most renowned names in Indian Writing in English/Indian Critics like Meenakshi Mukherjee, S Nagarajan, Meena Alexander, Amritjit Singh, Shiv K Kumar, Hoshang Merchant and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra were part of the university’s English department at one point or the other.
Students too are excited about the latest rankings and cite the tough admission process to the success of the department. “Our department provides a lot of opportunities for improvement. While some find the selection process arbitrary or difficult, the entrance test looks at interpretive skills rather than theoretical frameworks,” said Sayujya Shankar, an M.Phil scholar.