The old logo of Osmania University and the new after changes were made over the years. Image Credit: Supplied

Hyderabad: An online campaign to restore the old logo of the historic Osmania University (OU) in Hyderabad has gained momentum, with more than 25,000 people signing a petition urging Telangana government to respond positively to the demand.

The controversy has come to the fore with alumni of more than a century old university with a glorious past launching an online campaign after the logo was completely altered, removing all the Urdu and Arabic inscriptions from the intricately designed emblem and replacing them with Telugu and Sanskrit inscriptions.

Did you know?
* While the original logo has the Turra (the crown) of Nizam on the top with a Quranic verse Noorun Ala Noor (Light upon Light) and also a saying of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in Arabic script: “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”, the bottom of the logo had the name of the university “Jamia Osmania”. In the middle of the logo the Arabic and Urdu Alphabet “Ain” was written boldly and prominently which was the initial of Mir Osman Ali Khan.

* Established by the last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan, Osmania University had many unique distinctions to its credit as it was the first university in the country to have an Indian language — Urdu as a medium of instruction.

* Even subject like medicine and engineering were also taught in Urdu language till police action in 1948 when Hyderabad state was merged into Indian Union.

* Former Chief Minister Dr Marri Channa Reddy were among hundreds of non-Muslim students who studied medicine and other subjects in the university.

* Even former Indian Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao was also a student of the university till he was rusticated by the authorities for his activities against the Nizam rule.

* The widespread change after 1948 saw a drastic alteration in the character of the university as English replaced Urdu as medium of instruction and gradually the logo of the university also under went many changes under successive governments.

Explaining the reason behind his campaign, Zuhair Madani, who moved the petition of Change.org platform last week, said: “Urdu is an integral part of this region. Its removal from the emblem is irrational as OU was the first university in the country to start courses in Indian languages”.

An online activist and student of architecture, Sibghatullah, who decoded and analysed the gradual change in logo over the years said: “The internet campaign was triggered when I put the decoded version online and it went viral”.

Sibghatullah, in his comparative chart of various logos from different points of time, showed how it was completely changed and ended up becoming a pale image with only “Ain” remaining in the middle and all other inscriptions replaced by Hindi, Sanskirit and Telugu.

Along with the online campaign, thousands also took to social media to urge the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, his son and senior minister K Taraka Rama Rao and even Hyderabad Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi to take measures to restore the logo.

Some of them even charged the chief minister with attempting to change the character of the university and Hyderabad itself.

With K Chandrasekhar Rao government coming under attack from all sides, especially from the Muslim minority, the state government deployed state’s only Muslim minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali to defend itself.

“The logo was not changed now. It was changed between 1951 and 1960 under the Congress rule but now some people are blaming the TRS government for it”, Mahmood Ali said.

In a report submitted to the government Prof SA Shakoor, head of the department of Urdu, Osmania University said: “The logo was silently changed starting with the removal of the crown of Mir Osman Ali Khan. Finally the name of university written in Urdu was replaced with Telugu. The logo had completely changed by 1960”.

“The changes had nothing to do with the TRS government. The criticism against the present government was baseless”, he said.