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Vizagapatam and Andhra Medical College - Contribute by Vijjeswarpu Edward Paul

The Telugu speaking people made several representations to Madras Government to establish a Medical College in Telugu districts. In response to those representations, the government took the proposal into active consideration in 1920 to establish a Medical College in Vizagapatam (Visakhapatnam was known as Vizagapatam during British Period).Finally a Medical College was established in 1923, which was referred to as Vizagapatam Medical College or Medical College, Vizagapatam. The College was opened on 1st July 1923 in the building which was originally constructed for Medical School. Presently (2022) on its place stand the Anatomy Block. This Medical School building was constructed by Smt. Gode Chitti Janakayyamma, wife late Gode Narayana Gajapathi Rao, a local Zamindar for which the foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Madras on 20th February 1905. It was completed in the year 1909-10. The building had a short and ill fated history, which has a story of its own. However this building had the distinction of having housed all the three Medical Institutions that were raised in Visakhapatnam - Medical School, Civil Hospital (King George Hospital) and Medical College (Andhra Medical College). After its construction it remained unused for some years. Later it was used, first as a Medical School. It was then used as temporary Civil Hospital, while the old Dispensary buildings collapsed and new Civil Hospital buildings were under construction. After the Civil Hospital was shifted to its new buildings in April 1923, the Medical College was started in this old Medical School building in July 1923. (The two storied building on the left background was the Medical School and tiled buildings on the right background was the Old Dispensary). The first Principal was Lt. Col. Frederick Jasper Anderson, M.C., M.B.B.S (Lond).F.R.C.S (Eng)., I. M.S.,The first batch consisted of 32 students. The departments that were started, were Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology. The College was formally opened by Diwan Bahdur Raja Panuganti Ramarayaningar, Minister for local self government on 19th July 1923. The College was attached to new Civil Hospitalwith 270 beds, which was named as King George Hospital and was utilised for clinical teaching of the students. The Government of Madras restricted the number of students for admission to 50, with preference being given to students from Telugu districts. The first batch students were only 32. Initially the college was affiliated to Madras University. After the establishment of Andhra University the Medical College was affiliated to it in the year 1926-27. The percentage of passes in the first year was 58.6 percent. As the college was in the first year of its existence, it had to work with certain disadvantages, such as lack of accommodation, equipment and laboratory facilities. In spite of these difficulties the College worked satisfactorily. The second academic year commenced on 3rd July 1924 and ended on 14th March 1925. There were 62 students on the rolls in the first and second year classes. One woman candidate applied for admission, but she could not be admitted for want of a separate ladies room and wash room facilities. The Madras University has granted the affiliation for 1st MBBS or LMS course. Affiliation for 2nd year was granted provisionally for one year pending completion of certain improvements in staff, building and equipment. The foundation stone for the first building of Medical College (Pathology, Bacteriology and Hygiene Block) was laid by the Governor on the 16th January 1925. It was completed and opened by the Governor on 12th December 1927. (Pathology, Bacteriology and Hygiene Block) Another block for accommodating Physiology, Bio Chemistry and Anatomy was constructed in the place where the old civil dispensary buildings were located. Two new professors (Ophthalmology and Midwifery) and two assistant professors (in medicine and surgery) were added in 1926-27. The strength of the College rose from 78 in the year 1925-26 to 156. But still the number of candidates seeking admission was lower than the Government prescribed limit of 50. There by almost every applicant possessing the minimum qualification prescribed for admission was admitted and there was no selection as such. Even though the College was opened for the benefit of the students from Telugu districts, it was observed that 32 of the 156 students were not natives of Telugu districts, while on the other hand a number of Telugu applicants were admitted to Madras Medical College. Out of the 156 students who appeared for University examinations 93 passed i.e 59 percent where as percentage of passes in the previous year was only 33 percent. (Physiology, Bio Chemistry and Anatomy Block on the left and Old Medical School building on the right. – Photo Curtsey: Dr. Ahi Krishna, Retd Principal AMC ) By the year 1926-27 the construction of Medical College was almost complete except for water supply and electrical fittings. The fifth and final year class was started in July 1927. By this time, college was fully affiliated to Andhra University. The first batch of Medical students passed out in 1928. Government decided to have a joint selection committee to make selection of candidates for both Medical Colleges at Madras and Vizagapatam from a common list of applicants. Two Professors and eleven assistant professors were added to the staff during the year 1927-28. There were 129 students on the rolls. University examination results were not as encouraging as those in the previous year. In the year 1929-30 the teaching staff was strengthened by appointment of a professor of pharmacology and raising the status of lecturer in diseases of ear, nose and throat to that of a Civil Surgeon. There were 147 students during the year. The percentage of increased from 31.6 to 35.2 There were 155 students on the rolls of the Medical College during the year 1931-32 as against 142 in the previous year. The percentage of passes in the final M.B.,B.S., and L.M.S., examinations was 35 as compared with 44 in the previous year. The M.B.,B.S and L.M.S courses were identical. To clarify the difference between MBBS and LMS degrees, this may not be an out of place to mention that, Madras University initially used to award basic Medical degrees as M.B & C.M (Medicinae Baccalaureus et Chirurgiae Magister). M.B.& C.M., and LMS (Licentiate in Medicine & Surgery) were two different courses then. In the year 1913-14 the University has adopted a new set of regulations. According to the University the M.B & C.M degree has been reduced to M.B.,B.S.. From that time onwards the courses and examinations for MBBS and LMS were one and the same. The difference being only in the pass marks. 50 percent for MBBS and 40 percent for LMS. Both were degrees awarded by the University. After the affiliation of Vizagapatam Medical College to Andhra University in 1926-27, Andhra University also followed the same system of Madras University. A hostel to accommodate 48 male students was constructed at a place between College and Hospital and occupied in the year 1930-31. This building was later used as a hostel for women students after a separate building for Men’s hostel was constructed behind the Collector’s office. Each male student used to pay Rs. 3 towards hostel rent and Rs. 18 towards mess charges as per the reports of the year 1938. A new block (for Materia Medica and Pharmacology) of the Medical College was completed during the year 1932-33. In 1936, Dr. C.R.Reddy, Vice Chancellor, having come to know that no women students were joining in the medical college lamented “ no girls are admitted into the Medical College, because there is no proper residence organised for them; and of course no residence has been organised because none have been admitted”. In his usual wit he also said “On occasions like this a Vice Chancellor has to enact the ‘Beggar’s Opera’ and appeal to Government, to the landed aristocracy, and the Merchant Princes for generous financial assistance”. He thus made an appeal for the construction of a hostel for women students of Medical College. The Inspectors of Medical Council of India inspected the Vizagapatam Medical College in January 1937. In spite of the improvements and additions to the staff, etc., made in the College and King George Hospital, the recognition of the Andhra University-degree was not permitted by the Medical Council of India. The construction of a new out-patient department in the King George Hospital, Vizagapatam, which was one of the improvements insisted on by the Medical Council of India, was taken up. The Indian Medical Council granted temporary recognition to the Medical degrees of the Andhra University for two years from 1st December 1938. The Vice Chancellor of Andhra University Dr. C. R. Reddy made a proposal to the Government in 1936, to rename the Vizagapatam Medical College as Andhra Medical College. The Government accepted his proposal and renamed the Medical College at Vizagapatam as Andhra Medical College on 29th February 1940 through a Gazette notification.

The story of Medical School Building Vizagapatam
The Government of Madras had a proposal to establish a Medical School at Vizagapatam (as Visakhapatnam was known during British period) in the year 1900.The then District Medical Officer, Visakhapatnam Colonel Leepingwell mentioned to Maharajah Gode Narayana Gajapathi Row, the local Zamindar, that he is looking for a suitable site to establish a Medical School. Maharajah G.N.Gajapathi Row, contemplated to build the Town Hall in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, when that idea was mooted. But he could not respond in time and lost that opportunity to the Rajah of Bobbili. Ever since then, he was looking for an opportunity to build some public building in honour of Queen Victoria, the Empress of India. When he learnt that the Government was planning to establish a Medical School, he immediately offered to raise a building for the Medical School at his own cost and name it as “Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medical School”. His proposal was tentatively accepted by the Madras Government when it was finally decided in 1900 to establish a Medical School in Visakhapatnam. To name any institution in the name of Reigning Monarch of England, it was mandatory in those days to obtain the Monarch’s consent before it was so named.Queen Victoria passed away on 22nd January 1901. The Rajah Gode Narayana Gajapathi Row could not obtain the Queen’s consent to name this Medical School in her name. There by the Medical School in Visakhapatnam never got the name“Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medical School” officially. It was always referred to as Vizagapatam Medical School or Medical School, Vizagapatam in all official records. But the Rajah’s family used to mention it as Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medical College” in their records. In the absence of the required consent from Queen Victoria, the Government never accepted that name. The Maharajah sent his offer through the Collector to Madras Government offering to provide a site and to construct a building for the Medical School. His offer was officially accepted on 7th March 1902. Government decided to open the Medical School in July 1902 which was opened in a rented building with 10 students. The head of the institution was designated as Superintendent. It appears that the Maharajah’s family paid the rent till the School Building constructed by them was occupied.The Maharajah’s family also provided rent free accommodation when a hostel for the students was opened. Unfortunately the Maharajah G.N.Gajapathi Row passed away in May 1903 even before the foundation stone for Medical School building was laid. The responsibility of raising the building fell on his widow, Maharani Gode Chitti Janakayyamma. Finally the foundation stone for the Medical School building, promised by late Maharajah G.N. Gajapathi Row, was laid by the Governor of Madras, Lord Ampthill on 20th February 1905.This place was earlier occupied by Old Poor House maintained by the Municipality from 1855 and later by the Gode family. This poor house was relocated to a new building constructed by Lady Chitti Janakayyamma to facilitate the construction of this Medical School in its place. The construction was completed in the year 1910. When the School building was ready for occupation and offered to the Government, the Government at Madras instructed the Collector, Visakhapatnam to inspect the building accompanied by the Civil Surgeon and the Executive Engineer for its suitability for the Medical School. Simultaneously, the necessary legal aspects were also under examination for the transfer of the property to the Government. The District Medical & Sanitary Officer and the Executive Engineer jointly inspected the new building in October 1910. The DM&SO reported that there was no dissecting room, without which it may not be useful for Medical School. The Executive Engineer reported the roof consisted of a new type of terracing in which hollow tiles were used and it was leaking all over the building. He also pointed out some defects in rain water draining pipes which has already caused the verandas to get swamped in time of heavy rain and wind. He suggested some rectifications to the roof and drain pipes before it was put to use. When this matter was referred to Lady Gajapathi Row, she came forward to get the defects rectified and construct the dissecting room as directed by the DM&SO at her own cost. The rectification and construction of dissecting room were completed by November 1911. The Medical School appears to have been shifted into this building after that. As per available records the Medical School was in this building by April 1912. Some minor discrepancies were noticed with regard to the title of the property in the name of the Maharani, which took some time to rectify. Finally the Maharani gave the Power of Attorney to her Diwan to execute a deed at Madras on 30th May 1912. Unfortunately the Diwan could not go to Madras on that day and registration date got postponed. Before the next date could be fixed the Maharani Chitti Janakayyamma passed away on 26th July 1912. With the death of Maharani ChittiJanakayyamma, the responsibility of executing the document fell on Rani Seetha Bai, the daughter of Maharajah Gode Narayana Gajapathi Rao, and the widow of Rajah of Wadhwan late DajirajuThakore. She executed a power of attorney to her Diwan, Budhavarapu Narayana Murthy Pantulu. Finallly the Gift Deed was registered at Madras by the end of October1912 signed by the Diwan on behalf of Rani Seetha Bai and Surgeon General of Madras Government W.B.Bannerman on behalf of Secretary of State for India. The deed covers a land to the extent of 1 acre 65.44 cents with the buildings there on and furniture there in. One very important clause in that deed was that if the done (Govt) ceases to use the land or building for College or School imparting medical education, then the property reverts back to the donor (Maharajh’s family) or as directed by the donor. In 1911, there was a proposal with the government to construct free residential accommodation for hostel wardens of all Medical schools, within the hostel building or attached to that building. As the hostel of Medical School was running in a private building given rent free by the Maharani, the proposal of the Govt could not be implemented in Visakhapatnam. With the permanent School building constructed by the Gode family having come into the hands of Government in 1912, the Surgeon General proposed to convert the ground floor into hostel and construct residential accommodation for the warden on west of the building. His proposal was accepted by the Government and estimates were prepared for Rs.32,700 in May 1914.While preparations for converting the School building into a combined school and hostel were on, the old Civil Hospital building adjacent to the school started showing signs of decay. The monsoon in 1913 has caused much damage to the oldstructure bringing down the roof of the surgical ward, which was formerly the best part in the hospital . In December 1914 the Surgeon General along with Major E.M. Illington, Superintendent of Medical School, inspected the old Civil Hospital building and reported that “It is necessary to move the hospital into the school block at once and to house the school else where”. This emergency situation put an end to the preparation of converting the school building into combined school and hostel. New preparations were started on a war footing to convert the school building into a temporary hospital building. The medical school was shifted to the upper floor of the old Collector’s office building in old town (present old building of Queen Mary’s School). The building which was constructed for the sole purpose of the Medical School, was occupied by the school for hardly 2 years. Emergency preparations were made to convert the school building into a temporary hospital. Work commenced even before the estimates were approved as mostwards of old civil hospital collapsed and remaining were declared unsafe. The temporary civil hospital occupied the school building till the new civil hospitalbuildings were constructed and occupied in April 1923. Immediately after that theVizagapatam Medical College was started in the same school building in July1923. Ultimately the Medical School at Visakhapatnam was closed in 1927. The medical school occupied its building only for two years from end of 1912 to end of 1914. It never reoccupied its building before the school itself was closed. With the initial rectifications and subsequent modifications the building could not stand for long. The medical school building was ordered for demolition when the building was found unsafe. In its place the present Anatomy block of the Medical College was constructed. It is not fair to end this story without paying a tribute to the donors of the school building. Maharajah of Gode Narayana Gajapathi Row promised to construct the building in 1900 which his family fulfilled by actually constructing and legally making it over to the Government. His family paid the rent of the school till such time their promised building was made ready and occupied. The family also provided rent free accommodation for the hostel also. Maharajah made many contributions for the development of Visakhapatnam. It was the same family that constructed and maintained the Victoria Gosha Hospital for many years. Thecitizens of Visakhapatnam owe him a lot. It requires separate space to mention his full contributions to our City.

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