Bombay Veterinary College

The foundation of The Bombay Veterinary College, Mumbai, in 1886 marked the establishment of the veterinary profession  in this country. The Bombay Veterinary College was inaugurated by Prof. J. H. Steel, B.Sc. F.R.C.V.S., a person with experience and dynamism as its first principal. Principal J. H. Steel can be considered as the father of modern Veterinary education in India. He also can be called the father of modern Veterinary Journalism.
The Bombay Veterinary College was initially housed in the vast compound of Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals, Parel, Bombay which was established in 1883 by Sir D. M. Petit Baronet. Prof. J. H. Steel was assisted by three Indian Medical Officers and an European Farrier to conduct   the   teaching.   But   when   trained   Veterinary graduates became available in 1889, two of them, Principal J. H. Steel, in his annual reports during the four years he presided over the college, outlined his ambitious ideas for the future development of the college. He reported “The average amount of knowledge conveyed to our students before they become practitioners will equal that given in the First Batch Of Veterinary Students 1886 British school. Our best men may not be equal to the best European graduates but they will not fall far short and the shortcoming, if any will disappear in time with further development of the college”. Indeed Principal. Steel in his comprehensive reports also dealt with other  aspects  such  as  affiliation  of  the  college  to  that  local  university  and  the minimum admission standard. In his annual administration report (1888) he states ” It is confidently expected that in a very few years it (Bombay Veterinary College) would be affiliated to the Bombay University and the time will have arrived when admission may be refused to non-matriculates “. 
On   establishing   the   college   in   Bai   Sakarbai Dinshaw   Petit   Hospital   for   Animals,   certain buildings belonging to the Hospital were handed over to the Government for the use of the college. The  large  central  Main  College  Building  1908 bungalow was utilized as the college building with certain alterations and additions such as two large lecture rooms, a library, a museum, pharmacy and office rooms for the Principal and Professors and quarters for the Resident Veterinary Officer. The curricular teaching and the clinical work of the hospital was placed in the hands of the Principal and the Faculty while general management of Hospital and patients was undertaken by the Secretary, S. P. C. A. Bombay. This  dual  control  system  worked  for  some  time  but later on due to certain religious sentiments of Jain- Hindu members of the S. P. C. A. post-mortem and dissection of animals which are the aids in diagnosis and advancement of the science could not be performed in the S. P. C. A. Hospital compound. The Government of Bombay therefore, constructed a post-mortem room and the dissection hall outside the Hospital compound Pathology  laboratory  1891      but in  its vicinity. Other buildings such  as students’ hostels, shoeing forge were added from time to time. A three storied building with Roman gothic architecture, called Patho-Bacteriological Laboratory was built by Sir D. M. Petit and handed over to the Government in 1891. A Lazaretto for animals suffering from contagious diseases and an incinerator were constructed. New building – a prototype of I. V. R. I. building Mukteshwar was built by the Government in the compound adjoining S. P. C. A. Hospital in 1908. A hostel building was also added in 1921. The band of newly educated Veterinarians coming out of Bombay Veterinary College did yeoman service to veterinary education, research and extension and through it to the land and people of India. What Veterinary Scientific work is seen in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, East Africa today is due to these graduates who have spread far and wide. This continued until Veterinary Colleges at Lahore and Rangoon began to give instructions in English and other colleges were opened at Calcutta. Madras and Patna giving equivalent training. Bombay veterinary College, therefore, get’s the credit of taking the initiative in this movement of Veterinary education and research and this college has therefore, been rightly styled as “The PIONEER” of modern veterinary education in India.
The  renowned  Bombay  Veterinary  College  diploma, instituted by Prof. J. H. Steel hardly operated for 5 years.   The   Professor’s   demise   in   1891   and   the Government,  disregarding  Prof.  Steel’s  vision  and expert opinion, modified and simplified the course and clubbed    it    in    3    years.    Notwithstanding    the modification  and  axing,  the course at Bombay  Veterinary  College remained  at the highest standard of veterinary education in India for many years. The two stalwarts, Lt. Col. J. Brodie Mills, and Major F. Joslen worked in the footsteps of the Founder. They were also professors of talent and brought out books and booklets especially  regarding  the  Cattle  Students`  Hostel  1908Wealth  of  India.  Frank  Ware writes about his impressions of 1907 as follows. “I met different members of the staff of Bombay Veterinary College who were to be my colleagues for next two years. Col. J. Brodie MiIls, Permanent Principal was on leave and Col. Joslen was acting for him. Other  members  of  the  staff  were  Khan  Saheb  Dhakmarvala,  Messers  Sowerby, Vakharia  and  Sheikh,  Rao  Bahadur,  B.  K.  Badami  was  the  very  energetic  House Surgeon. The Principal showing me round remarked that one of the first things I should do was to make a close Study of the different breeds of Indian Cattle of which there was always a good selection in Bombay city. Looking back on that remark of Col. Joslen, I have often thought how far sighted it was and how pregnant with possibilities for the future, if one had been able at that time to take the advantage of it”.For quite a long time Bombay Veterinary College supplied  fully  qualified  veterinary  graduates  and practitioners to all parts of India and neighbouring countries. It also filled the gap that existed between the  few  European  Veterinary  Surgeons  and  quite numerous but inadequately trained local personnel for veterinary job, called “Salutris”, who occupied a position in Veterinary profession similar to that of Sub-Assistant Surgeons in Medical Department. It may be noted that the word “Salutri” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Saluhotra” who was a renowned Veterinarian of the ancient India. he all energetic Shri M. S. Sastry, G.B.V.C., General Secretary, All India Veterinary Association in his article. I.V.A. and I.V.J.- their genesis, growth and career “, (Indian Vet. J. 26:13) said “The Bombay Veterinary College came into existence in 1886 with English as the medium of instruction right from the very beginning. The graduates passing out of this college were absorbed in the Veterinary Departments both Civil and Military  in  this  Country  and  abroad  viz.  Ceylon,  East  Africa,  Zambia,  Aden  and distant Brazil “. From 1886 to 1910 quite a large number of Veterinary experts touched the footsteps of Bombay Veterinary College as acting or Assistant Principals before they were drafted to other Provinces. Major F. S. H. Baldrey, F. R: C. V. S., acting Principal and Col. H. T. Pease F. R. C. V. S., Assistant Principal for some time were the pillars of the profession having been associated with Dr. A. Lingard at Mukteshwar in 1897. Major F . S. H. Baldrey  authored  a  book  “Elements of  Bacteriology”.  Col.  Pease was president  of Second  All India Veterinary  Conference held  in Lucknow in  1924.  Mr.  Frank Ware (Later made Sir) who joined in November 1907, was for some time Vice-Principal of Bombay Veterinary College. The standard of Veterinary education in India was differing among institutions. Therefore the Government and the Principals of various colleges decided to meet at a conference. Accordingly, in January 1900 a conference of the Principals of various colleges was held at Ambala to consider the most
New Laboratory Building 1959 appropriate curriculum which would be of uniform standard in teaching at various Veterinary Educational Institutes. As a result of deliberations, the written tests at Bombay Veterinary College were abandoned, the course still simplified and was made uniform with those of Calcutta and Lahore colleges. Oral tests were thus introduced. This  curriculum  remained  the  basis  for  teaching  until  1912  when  the  post  of  the Inspector General. Civil Veterinary Department was abolished. The Presidencies and Provinces which had coordinated veterinary education became free to settle their own curriculum for the Diploma. Bombay Veterinary College without losing much time reverted to its three years curriculum and written, practical and viva voce mode of examination. At the Fifth All India Veterinary Conference held   at   Bombay   on   27-12-1915   in   his presidential  address,  Principal  K.  Hewlett, M.R.C.V.S., I.V.S, O.B.E. J.P. said, “It is almost exactly 25 years ago, I first joined the staff of Bombay Veterinary College. Research, in my opinion is one of the chief needs of India today. Veterinary education in India requires to be reformed and adopted to the changed condition. The college staff should be strengthened to such an extent so as to permit teachers specializing in their subjects and having time for study and experiment. In a vast country like India, depending almost wholly on its agriculture and its agriculture depending entirely on the working bullocks, it is strange to find apathy with regard to that Science which alone can keep the livestock of the country free from scourge of diseases. But such is the case.” From the available records of history it is however found that the then Government of Bombay during this period (1912¬1936) was very apathetic to the veterinary education, research and services and at one stage wanted to abolish the college. But better counsel prevailed and the college got a new lease of life. The   diploma   course   of  three   years   with  the   theory,   practical   and   viva  voce examinations adopted in 1912, continued up to 1940, when the diploma curriculum was modified. The entrance to the diploma course was raised to Inter Science ‘B’ group which means basic sciences were already taken care of in the University education of two years, leaving three full years for the study of professional subjects. This arrangement made it possible to broad base the studies of Pathology Bacteriology and Parasitology. It also ensured teaching of Physiology and Bio-chemistry on a better footing. Other professional subjects also got a new face and approach. In these dark days of existence and apathy, Principal K. Hewlett, the last of the I.V.S., retired. In 1932 Rao Bahadur V. R. Phadke took over as the Principal. The college by this time was kept under the Director of Veterinary Services whose responsibilities were purely medicosurgical advice and administration of the personnel. During these bleak  days  of  1932  Principal  V.  R.  Phadke  and  Prof.  N.  D.  Dhakmarwala,  two stalwarts were continuously on their toes to convince the Government about the short sightedness of its policy of neglecting the Veteritnary college. They did so through All India Veterinary Conferences. Rao Bahadur V. R. Phadke was the first Indian Principal to take over the stewardship of the Bombay Veterinary College. A graduate of 1904, he underwent post-graduate studies at Liverpool as well as at the London School Tropical Medicine. He was the first in India to successfully employ serum simultaneous technique for the control of Rinderpest. Prof. Phadke was also the author of the pamphlet “Multivitellaria hewletti” a new fluke discovered by him in an Indian house crow. Subsequently he retired as Director of Veteril1ary Services in 1938. In appreciation of his Meritorious services the title of ‘Rao Bahadur’ was conferred on him on the New Year Honours Day in 1938. In the year 1945, due to Herculean efforts on the part of the then Principal S. R.Chadha, retired Principal V. R. Phadke and Prof,. N. D. Dhakmarwala, the college was affiliated to the Bombay University for the award of B. Sc. (Vet) degree. Thus it took 60 years for fulfillment of the dreams of Principal J. H. Steel. Madras and Lahore Colleges had taken this step even earlier. With this affiliation the Bombay Veterinary College came in tune with the other veterinary colleges in India in the matter of advanced veterinary education. With the affiliation of the Bombay Veterinary College to Bombay University in 1945 the academic picture began to transform. There evolved independent departments of Anatomy, Surgery, . Physiology and Biochemistry, Animal Husbandry, Bacteriology, Pathology, Medicine and Parasitology. Principal S. R. Chadha, Prof. J. P. Damri, Prof. F. S. Khambata, Prof. R. N. Naik, Porf. K. R. S. Aiyer, Dr. K. B. Nair and Dr. S. R. Rao were selected and appointed as professors of respective departments. For the first time a regular research wing was created under the Professor of Bacteriology with Dr. D. T. Parnaik and Dr. W. V. Chatupale as Assistant Research Officers and Drs. S. V. Phadke, P. R. Dhake, V. B. Kulkarni and S. R. Kulkarni as graduate assistants. With this increase in teaching and research facilities a new era started in the life of the college.  Animal  Husbandry  department  which  was  only  in  miniscule  form  was expanded with Dr. F. S. Khambata as the Professor to look after the teaching of livestock management, hygiene, farm constructions, animal nutrition, milk hygiene and animal genetics on an elaborate scale. Extramural training in farm practices was introduced at this lime giving the students an opportunity to study management and economics of livestock rearing at farm level.  At this critical juncture in the life of the college a golden opportunity, which would have changed itsVeterinary Polyclinic 1983-84 face was missed in the year 1947.
The Government of Bombay had an ambitious plan of developing the Aarey Colony campus for livestock housing and milk production. It was very strongly suggested that the veterinary college may consider the possibility of manning this enterprise by starting a new campus of the college in the colony premises. It was also in the mind of the Government to make the college Veterinarians responsible for the livestock welfare of the thousands of livestock housed in this colony which was perhaps the largest congregation of animals in the East. However, the then administrators of the college, for obscure reasons, were less enthusiastic about the proposal. After the proposal to shift the college to Aarey Colony was shelved, the Government developed a taste for shifting. At one stage in 1950 it was under consideration of the Government to close the college of Bombay and convert it into a school attached to Agriculture college, Pune, Somehow the idea fizzled out of its own. The   Government   during   1950’s   had   apprehensions   regarding   the   legitimacy   of Veterinarians being the real custodians of the livestock. Due to such a fluid policy, the Bombay Veterinary College suffered a serious set back and the college expansion programme was inevitably hampered. Uttar Pradesh, Madras and some other States in the country had already given a serious thinking to this problem and had decided to bring  Animal  Husbandry  and  Veterinary  Services under one Directorate  of  Animal Husbandry of the state.  At  last  in  the  year  1957  the  Government  took  a  firm  stand  on  co-ordinating  all livestock activities under the Director of Animal Husbandry with the Veterinarians to steer the development. With the political freedom of India and meaningful Five year plans livestock production became an important aspect of development. In order to meet the national needs, the college curricula were required to be reoriented from time to time. The year 1956-57, experienced another change and reshuffle in the teaching faculty with Prof. F. S. Khambata as the Principal and Drs. S. P. Deshpande, S. N. Sapre, S. R. Rao, K. R. Alur, C. R. Sane, R. M. Kalapesi and D. T. Parnaik as Professors with a band of young teachers Drs. B. L. Purohit, S. G. Kshirsagar, G. R. Murkibhavi, M. R. Redkar, R. K. Raikar and S. R. Hattangady who had the opportunity to undergo advanced training abroad under one or the other National programme, bringing fresh breeze in the faculty. At this juncture Dr. Khambata was entrusted with the crucial task to nurse the newly started  Veterinary  College  at  Nagpur.  Prof.  G.G.  Oak  a  Dairy  Expert  and  an experienced Veterinarian took over as the Principal in 1958 for a short time and was succeeded by Prof. Parnaik who had earned a King’s Commission in I.A.V.C. in the Second World War. It was during his regime from 1958 to 1963 the college took long strides in development. In 1960, postgraduate courses leading to Master’s degree (M.V.Sc.) Were introduced in the subjects of Pathology, Bacteriology and Parasitology. In the following year this was extended to the subjects of Animal Genetics & Breeding, Gynaecology, Surgery and Medicine. Anatomy joined this programme in 1963. This was made  possible  by  the  enthusiastic  and  encouraging  interest  taken  by  Dr.  V.  R. Khanolkar, Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. Govardhan Parikh Rector of Bombay University. Such is the checkered story of the birth and progress of the Bombay Veterinary College the root of the modern Veterinary Science in India, greater part of Asia and Africa. With a less than modest beginning the institute had to pass through a rough and often hostile  terrain. 
But  due  to  foresight  of  its  pioneers  and  unceasing  efforts  of  the successors the college has reached a stage when as it enters the 125th year it is poised to make a quantum jump. The Bombay Veterinary College can claim a just pride in seeing that the seeds of the Veterinary Science it had sown a hundred years back, has developed into a huge tree giving out numerous branches of specialization in various aspects of live stock industry; Thanks to this, the veterinary profession today has been contributing to the National Progress on a large scale.

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