The Agricultural Institute was established under the leadership of Dr. Sam Higginbottom, in 1910, as an ecumenical Institution of the Christian Churches and Church organizations in India. Dr. Sam Higginbottom came to India in 1903 and joined the North India Mission of the Presbyterian Church. From 1903 to 1909. He taught Economics and Science in the Allahabad Christian College, presently known as Ewing Christian College and at the same time studied the local dialect.
During this period he became a familiar figure in the surrounding villages, he also saw and observed the living conditions of the villagers and was deeply concerned about the ancient system of agriculture which contributed to low productivity and thus led to extreme poverty amongst them. He was also genuinely disturbed by the vast gulf between the urban Christian and the rural masses. For several months he contemplated upon the Christian neglect of the villages and ultimately by the end of 1909 he decided to bridge this gulf by establishing an agricultural school, which he envisioned would educate the village boys, introduce improved agricultural methods and co-operate with the local farmers in solving their practical agriculture related problems. He also took over the responsibility of supervising a Home for lepers. This Home was operated by the Allahabad Charitable Association,but since the Home did not have adequate facilities for providing food, clothing and shelter, the lepers often left and wandered into the city as beggars.
Here they were outright shunned and hideously disregarded by one and all. Dr. Higginbottom himself found them repulsive as most of them had lost their fingers and toes, their wounds were wrapped in dung coloured rags. Dr. Sam Higginbottom was so disturbed by the sight that within a few weeks he asked to be relieved of this responsibility, but Mr. Arthur Henry Ewing, the Principal of Allahabad Christian College, encouraged him to continue this work. He then realized that his attitude was inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible, which taught to cleanse lepers, the young missionary acknowledged that they were indeed his brothers in Christ. This made him look for possibilities of increasing the financial assistance for a proper home for lepers and thus came into being, the present Leprosy Hospital in Naini, situated across the Jamuna river about 1.5 kilometers South East of the city. The home consisted of a small hospital and Church and a Home for the untainted children of the lepers. This home was the project of Ethelind Higginbottom wife of Dr. Sam Higginbottom, since she felt that children who were separated within the first year of their birth from their parents would not contact this disease. This home was adjacent to the Naini Jail where the superintendent Col. E. Hudson, introduced improved agricultural techniques on the jail farm.
Dr. Higginbottom seized upon Hudson’s methods of farming and taught these methods to the lepers who were able to farm. The evolution of an agricultural school was much more complex. Dr. Sam Higginbottom wished to establish a school that would train young men to work in villages as well as do research in practical agricultural problems of the villagers. His experiences as a teacher, his studies about India and his association with Col. Hudson helped him to develop this school. During his teaching of Economics, he observed that the course was rather unrelated to the needs of the Indian students. The books were based on the knowledge of western, urbanized society, which here was meaningless for the Indian students. The lack of comprehension and the impracticality of the course deeply disturbed Dr. Higginbottom. He then decided to aquaint his students to the Indian Economy. He gave his students a practical demonstration by taking them to take a view of the life style of the villagers, personally. He showed the students Col. Hudson’s farm at the, Naini Jail, so they would have a first hand information regarding the possibilities of improved agricultural methods and teaching of practical village industries such as wood carving, pottery, rug making, canning, etc. Dr. Higginbottom, thus planned and started a school which was located in the trans-Jamuna region on the southern bank of the river, directly across the Allahabad Christian College Campus. This region was connected to the city of Allahabad by a two tiered wooden bridge which spanned across the Jamuna and had a double rail line on the top and a dirt road underneath, about 1/2 a kilometer in the south west direction from this bridge the Agricultural Institute was established in the year 1910. About 120 Kilometers down this road was the Estate of Rewa
This region was one of the poorest regions of this area, the soil was of a very poor quality (Usar), it was barren and had not been cultivated for years, Dr. Higginbottom took advantage of this opportunity and along with his associates reclaimed the area and demonstrated the potential value of Usar and felt that the riots would be inspired to adopt the practices of the Agricultural School. He had to his advantage the fact that this school was situated on the confluence of the Ganga - Jamuna, (known as “Sangam”), where every year in the months of January and February, thousands of pilgrims passed this way and thus they
would be able to observe and practically see the improved methods of agriculture which were implemented on the farm and in return would carry
these ideas with them to the various parts of country from where they had come.The first phase of the Institute was it’s establishment, development of appropriate training courses and training programmes. Informal classes began in the fall of 1912 and it was during this period from 1912 to 1919 that the Institute faced a time of uncertainty. The Dairy, Animal Husbandry and Agriculture Farm were developed. Diploma in Farm Machinery and Dairying were started in 1923, then a Degree in Agriculture in 1932, followed by a Degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1943. This became the pioneer Institute to offer Agricultural Engineering degree in the whole of Asia and the 4th in the whole world.
Prof. Mason Vaugh, an Agricultural Engineer, founded the Department of Agricultural Engineering, he became the father of Agriculture Engineering in India in the early forties. Several implements such as Mould Board Ploughs (Wah Wah Plough, U.P. No.1, U.P. No.2, Shabash Plough) hoes, cultivators and wheat thresher were, for the first time introduced in India, by Prof. Vaugh. The next phase of the Institute was taken up by Dr. A.T. Mosher, in the year 1948-49, and the major expansion such as the construction of the College of Agriculture, New Hostel and many residences took place during this period. The most famous agriculture Extension Project “Jamuna Par Punar yojna”, in which the “Gaon Saathi”, (recruitment of village level workers) was introduced into the extension system for the first time in India. The first planners of our country took the idea of the ‘Village Level Worker’ as a community development model. This has now been adopted by eleven countries of the world. On the 25th of Aug. 1950, the A.A.I. was registered to function as a Christian Educational Institute of a national stature.
Dr. J.B. Chitamber, a famous extension scientist, took over the reigns of the Institute. Major academic expansion took place during this period i.e. from 1950 till 1980. Dr. Chitamber who had worked very closely with Dr. A. T. Mosher, led the Institute successfully and made extension a very well known programme of the Institute. The State Govt. of U .P. had certified that the Allahabad Agriculture Institute is a Minority Educational Institution within the meaning of clause (i) of article 30 of the Constitution of India, vide their letter No. 4894 15-80 (ii) dated the 12th of Sept. 1980 and also certified as a Minority Institution by the U.P. Higher Education Service Commission, vide letter No. 250/ 258/83-84 dated 24/5/1983. From the year 1980-1995
In October 1947 the Institute was brought under an independent Board of Directors, which was
sponsored as an ecumenical body by a number of Churches and Christian Missions called The Board of Directors. the Institute faced financial and administrative crisis the worst in it’s history and suffered the severest bankruptcy, due to which land had to be sold for disbursement of salaries, as employees were not paid for nearly 10 to 12 months. All fixed deposits dried out. However, through the prayer of believers and by the grace of the Lord JesusChrist, as the people started realizing the vision of the founders, the spirit of the Lord once again started working in the Institute and by the end of the year 1996 the Institute survived and came out of this crisis.
In order to obtain more academic freedom and to strengthen the specialized programmes of Teaching, Research and Extension a proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India by the Director, Dr. Rajendra B. Lal on the 31st of August 1994, that the Institute be granted the status of a Deemed University. In 1997 a team of experts from ICAR and UGC visited the Institute and
gave their recommendation that the Institute be declared as a Deemed University, as it had all the potentials of a University. On the 15th of March 2000, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Hon’ble Minister of HRD, Govt. of India, gave his approval to the recommendations of the UGC. The Central Government issued the notification No. F-9-26/94-U.3. dated the 15th of March 2000, declaring the
Allahabad Agricultural Institute-as Deemed University and Prof. (Dr.) Rajendra B. Lal, was appointed as the first Vice-Chancellor of the University. After the end of Five years, AAI-DU was evaluated by NAAC (An autonomous body of UGC) in the month of January, 2005. The NAAC accredited our University with B++ grade (80-85%). This is an excellent grade between 80-85%. Four Universities of Uttar Pradesh are in B++ category and till date only 17 Universities of the Country have received B++ grade.