The giant red block letters splotched across the quadranglular building of Pragati Degree College are overbearing reminders every second of where you are. They announce, rather loudly and carelessly, that you are in 'Gujarati Pragati Seva Samiti' 'Pragati Mahavidyalaya' (sic). Painted in red across every floor, they make the building look more like an extra-large election-time poster.
Buzzing all around are chocolatey-looking boys with their unmissable crew cuts, and a sprinkling of girls who seem to be trying to make themselves even more inconspicuous. This college has a less than 10% female population for a nearly 3,000-strong student body.
The boys however, are having a field day. Pragati boasts a fantastic male participation in extra-curricular activities - mainly sports, NCC/NSS, and probably the logical conclusion to both of these: modeling! A number of modeling firms routinely pick students from here, and make sure they are invited to various fashion shows around the city.
Surprisingly, Pragati has no playing courts of its own, but has arrangements with A V College
for use of theirs. They also have a division of the Youth Red Cross, opened specifically here given the promising participation levels and lavish resources such as the air-conditioned seminar hall, the auditorium and the Kayon projectors. This 150 strong division of Red Cross
conducts many activities such as blood donation and collection of relief funds.
NCC has about 300 students enrolled, and NSS is also riding a wave here. The NCC students of Pragati have attended international meets, and some of the students here have won state and national awards in Powerlifting, Fencing, Cricket, Kho-Kho etc. The secret to this sporty streak in the students is the quotas and fee-concessions offered to sportsmen and women.
The college manages to attract a fair number of big names during its placement season - Nipuna, Infosys, Wipro, GE and ICICI among them. Students often work part-time in their third year as well.
Pragati conducts refresher courses for its faculty members, a move very unlike a privately-run college, and also boasts of being the only non-OU College in Hyderabad whose Principals were awarded professorships twice.
All in all, Pragati seems like the place to go if you are a guy, and love sporting or preening! Or can afford Caf Coffee Day express rates for lunch (Pragati has one in place of a canteen).