Warm greetings to you in the most loving and matchless name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
When we pursue higher education with passion and hard work, it could be the most enriching and rewarding experience of our lives. And pursuing it from historic institution that is committed to excellence in all spheres augments that experience manifold. The 107-year-old institution that new students enter this year has crossed another milestone. We are humbled that God Almighty has blessed us with the status of a state university. It is an evidence of our commitment to excellence and service to the state of UP and to the nation at large.
The journey to the present status is worth recalling. In the year 2010, the former Allahabad Agriculture Institute (Deemed to Be University) completed 100 glorious years of its existence. To honour the founder of the institute, the name of the university was changed to SHIATS, that is, Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences. But in that same year the dream to take it to another level had been born.
As the vice-chancellor of SHIATS, I submitted a proposal to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh vide Letter No. SHIATS-Society/Act 2010/C-631 on 26 July 2010 that said that Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (Deemed University) be upgraded and reconstituted as Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS) in private–public-partnership mode. The whole office of the vice-chancellor and staff, such as Prof. (Dr) Ranjan A. John, Treasurer/Director Establishment & Estate, Mr M. P. John of the Camp Office, Mrs Lysamma Oommen of the main office, Mr Vinod B. Lal, Director, Administration, Mrs. Victoria A. Masih, Joint Registrar (Legal) as well as the University Counsel Mr J. Nagar continued to support in the reading and writing of the text of the Act for the last six years. Hon'ble Chancellor Dr. J. A. Oliver and the Chairman of the Society and the Members of the Managing Committee of the Society as a whole continued to support the vice-chancellor in his greater vision.
The Agriculture Minister Mr Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh was extremely helpful and cooperative for getting the work done through his department. He further suggested that we must meet Mr Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister for speeding up the matter of the Bill then it can be processed and placed before the State Legislature (both the Houses of the Assembly). With the help of Bishop John Augustine, Bishop of Church of India, Lucknow Diocese, I was able to meet the Chief Minister, Mr Akhilesh Yadav at his residence, 5, Kalidas Marg, Lucknow on 11 April 2013 at 2:00 p.m. I submitted the proposal again before him and requested him for his favour to establish First Christian State University in U.P. He was very hospitable and helpful and assured us that in his time he will get the University Bill passed through the Legislature. After meeting him we continued the persuasion in various offices of the State and the Department of Agriculture Education and Research, Government of U.P.
We met the Chief Minister again on 21 May 2016 at 11.00 a.m. through Mr Shivpal Singh Yadav, PWD Minister who had been a good friend of my brother Mr Vinod B. Lal, Director Administration of the SHIATS. The Chief Minister assured us again that the work will be done. However, we had to pursue the file on every table. But it must be said that we had wonderful experience with all the officials we met.
We met the Chief Minister for the third time on 29 September 2016. This time again with Bishop John Augustine and his wife Mrs. Swapna Augustine. My wife Mrs Sudha Lal, and Prof. Ranjan John accompanied us. The Chief Minister this time firmly assured that it should be done and he assigned his Secretary Mr Pranjal Yadav (IAS), the special task to pursue the file in every department for us. On 30th September, we met the Agriculture Production Commissioner Mr Pradeep Bhatnagar (IAS), a very thorough gentleman. He paid very patient hearing to us and asked the Principal Secretary Mr Rajneesh Gupta to get this file going on priority. Most of these days, for the last six months, we did not have proper lunch while visiting secretariat. We survived on tea and biscuits provided in the offices.
On 13th December, the proposed bill for SHUATS was approved by the cabinet, and then it was ready to go for legislative Assembly on 22nd December, 2016. On 22nd December 2016, at 8.30 in the morning Mr Ram Briksh Yadav, Member of the Legislative Council called on my mobile that “Guru ji, SHUATS Bill is now in the Agenda of the Legislative Council (Upper House).” At the same time I received a call from Mr. Sanjay Gupta, PS to Agriculture Minister Mr. Pandit Singh that Agenda has come and SHUATS Bill of 2016 is on the Vidhaan Sabha Agenda. Even though I had a pass to visit the Assembly but I decided to remain in the guest house for prayer. I was called by the Section Officer Mr. Phool Chand Yadav that our SHUATS Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly. Around 4.00 p.m. Legislative Council also passed the SHUATS Bill of 2016. It's amazing how Mr. Pradeep Dubey was involved in our first growth of the Institution from Professional Institution to the Deemed University and now again he is sitting in the highest office where he should be issuing the decision of Legislative Assembly for further pursuance of the Act. It was miraculous that the parchment was received by the Vidhai Department around 7.30 p.m. on the same day, and on 23rd December 2016, file was prepared for sending to the Hon'ble Governor for his assent.
Mr. Ram Naik, Hon' ble Governor of U.P. had been very kind and supportive to the cause of higher education, and he did not take much time to assent the bill. The bill was assented by the Hon' ble Governor on 27 December 2016 at 2:30 p.m., and within a couple of hours the Vidhai Department issued the Notification for Gazette Publication and Agriculture Education Department received the Notification along with the copy of the Act from Vidhai that they may also issue a letter of authorization with the approval of the Agriculture Minister (Mr Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh).
We thank God and give Glory to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all the work done on 28th December, 2016, and issuance of Notification on 29th December, 2016 much before the Notification of the expected Election of 2017.
We received the letter of authorization and notification at 07.30 pm on 29th December 2016, and came back by 11.00 pm. Thus, the “Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences” came into being from 29 December 2016. All glory and honour we give to our Lord Jesus Christ. I was received by my wife Mrs. Sudha Lal, son Jonathan, daughter-in-law Abhilasha and grandchildren: Joycee, Joel and Aaron at 11.00 pm at the Bunglow No. 4 where we presently live. Together we all thanked God and my granddaughter said to me “Dada, now you don't have to go to Lucknow every week, and you will stay with us.”
Prof. Ranjan John's and my weekly visits to Lucknow were now over. But we are on our course for a long journey of academic excellence and higher goals. We welcome you to be part of this glorious journey!
With love and blessings,
In service of Lord Jesus Christ,