There has been a change in trend with the department of Gandhian and Peace Studies in Panjab University (PU) being swamped by aspirants. It is flooded with unprecedented rush of students seeking admission to different courses it offers for the 2009-10 session. 'This year we have received far more applications for admission if we compare the number with last year. On an average, we have received 14 applications for one available seat,' told Jai Narain Sharma, Chairperson of the Department.
To meet the increasing demand of students PU authorities have increased the seats in Gandhian studies department from 25 to 29. Last year also the seats were increased from 20 to 25, seeing the interest among students. This year seven students of the department sat for the civil services preliminary exam, of whom four qualified for the main exam and one was selected in the interview. Students from diverse backgrounds like arts, commerce, science and business studies and even working professionals are applying for the course. At present eight foreign students from Iran are studying in the department. The Department of Gandhian Studies came into existence in 1965. Initially there was only a one-year certificate course in Gandhian philosophy but now the department is offering M.A, M.Phil and PhD courses in different branches of Gandhian studies. Admission is based on academic record and an aptitude test. Students passing out of this department are placed in various renowned NGOs and self-help groups all across the country. Under their subject Literacy Mission, Gandhian studies department has adopted a village, Mahadev Pura, in Haryana. Its students go there every year and work for the upliftment of underprivileged kids of the village. There is a full-fledged library in the department with more than 6,000 books. There is a series of books written by Mahatma Gandhi and books based on his life and experiences. PU, one of the oldest universities of the country, was established in 1882 at Lahore and was shifted to Chandigarh in 1956.