Shiv Chander Sharma
SITUATED between the Ranbir Canal head and Jewel Chowk in the city, there is the oldest college of Jammu, the erstwhile Prince of Wales college and now Government Gandhi Memorial (GGM) Science college which has produced many alumni.
The alumni of the college include former Army Chief Gen (Retd) N C Vij, Former chief Justice of India, A S Anand, Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, V K Gupta, Balraj Puri, Santoor Vadak Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Deputy Chief Minister of J&K, Late Mangat Ram Sharma, Prof Bhim Singh and former Chief Secretary, Government of Pakistan, Qurat-Ullah-Shahab, former Chief Secretary of J&K, S S Baloeria and so many others. This college is among the two in the Jammu and Kashmir state which are the oldest and were built by Maharaja Pratap Singh who ruled the state from 1885 AD to 1925 AD. The other college is in Srinagar city named Shri Pratap College.
This college is a fusion of antiquity and dates back to 1905 AD. Then Maharaja of the J&K state Pratap Singh announced the opening of this college as Prince of Wales college. This was to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales, the future King George V to the state. Maharaja Pratap Singh, a benvolent ruler and a great visionary of his times thus created the only institution of higher learning in the entire Jammu region. This college celebrated its first centenary last year.
Prince of Wales college actually started functioning from April 20, 1907 in the then Ajaibghar building which now serves as Assembly hall of J&K Legislative Assembly in Jammu, the winter capital of the state. It had 26 students on its rolls in its first year and Prof R N Mukherji officiated as the principal.
In July 1907, Prof F M Dadina took over as the first formal principal of the college. The foundation stone of the present college campus was laid in July 1907 amidst a vast lush green area of about 65 acres by the then Resident of Kashmir, Sir Francis Young Husband.
The college was shifted to the present campus on September 18, 1912 with Prof S Robson as the principal. The founder of the college were undoubtedly men of great acumen and vision, said present college principal R L Sharma. The infrastructure planned a hundred year ago, continues substantially to meet the ever-increasing needs of the institution even now.
The college hostel started functioning in July 1910, nearly two years before the college was shifted to the present building. The Prince of Wales college was afiliated to then Panjab University, Lahore in May 1908. Initially, a strem of subjects, English, Mathematics, Chemistry, History, Persian, Sanskrit and Philosophy were taught up to intermediate level. In January 1910, two more sbjects, Geology and Arabic were introduced.
In 1931 onwards the college admitted both male and females students on its roll till 1944 when a separate Maharani Mahila college was opened in the present Luthra Academy at Kachi Chwani on Palace Road. However, in medical stream, female students continued on the rolls till 1966.
However, with the dawn of independence, Prince of Wales College could not escape the spirit of freedom and euphoria sweeping across the country. Thus the colege was renamed as Government Gandhi Memorial College on May 20, 1948. At present both male and female students study together in morning and evening sessions. The evening session classes had to be started after migration from Kashmir.