ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Selvie Das (1932–2021)

Mysore University’s First Woman Vice Chancellor

The peculiar qualities and work of the first woman vice chancellor of University of Mysore as she waded through the limitations posed by her gender and caste are narrated.


The University of Mysore is one of the oldest in the country, the sixth, in fact. Another of its distinctions is that it was established in a princely state, Mysore. It owes its origin to the far-sightedness of its maharaja and the visionary diwan, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and M Visvesvaraya, respectively. It was not easy for a princely state to secure permission from the British and also fight the opposition of the Madras Presidency, which was ­under British rule and by all acc­ounts a more developed state. Apart from this, Mysore, now Mysuru, had earned a reputation for quite a few progressive policies, one of which was in the realm of women’s education. Visvesvaraya was very particular about promoting women’s education and preventing early marriages. These were quite radical progra­mmes for those times. Yet the university had to wait ­almost 90 years to have a woman vice chancellor and the state itself achieved this landmark only in the late 1970s. In what follows, we present the picture of the first and to date the only woman vice chancellor of the University of Mysore, Selvie Das, who passed away on 26 April this year (1932–2021). This is more in the nature of an analysis of the problems she had to counter in office rather than a listing of her achievements. The focus is on two handicaps she had to navigate around—being a woman and a Dalit.

Cosmopolitan Education and Career

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Updated On : 4th Oct, 2021
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