Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  Contact Us
Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 97 | December 7 2008|


   News Room
   Photo Feature
   Higher Studies in UK

   Star Campus     Home


Rajshahi College turns 135

A.K.Ratan and M.A.Kaioum

IF you visit Rajshahi, the education city of Bangladesh, you can see a collection of red-brick multi storeyed buildings that almost seems like a royal palace. These buildings, situated just beside the river of Padma and Rajshahi Shaheb Bazar is the famous Rajshahi College, which, in this year, has turned 135 years.

Rajshahi College is one of the oldest educational institutions of North Bengal. This college was established in 1873 in the city of Rajshahi city. It is also said that the college is the third oldest college in Bangladesh after Dhaka College and Chittagong College. Rajshahi College is the pioneer institution in Bangladesh to award a Masters degree. The college is situated beside other important educational institutions in the area inlcuding the Rajshahi Collegiate School and Varendra Museum, the first museum of Bangladesh.

The history of Rajshahi College is related to the Rajshahi Collegiate School. The establishment of Rajshahi Collegiate School was as a private English School which founded in 1828 by the concerted efforts of many of the region's most prominent citizens. In 1836 the school was taken over by the provincial government of Bengal and was converted into a Government Zila or District School. Many sources assured that Rajshahi College was established with the financial assistance of Raja Haralal Roy Bahadur of Dubalhati. Raja Haranath Roy donated land for the establishment of the college and the annual income from the property was five thousand rupees. Within a short period after establishment, the college became one of the main centres of higher education for the inhabitants of East Bengal, North Bengal, Bihar, Purnia and Assam.

In 1873, again through the efforts and appeals of local citizens, the Zila School was given the status of an Intermediate College, and F.A. courses were introduced into the curriculum of the Zila School. With further development this college got affiliation of "first-grade rank" in 1878. For this affiliation, the college gained the ability to teach B.A. courses and was also affiliated to the University of Calcutta. The name 'Rajshahi College' came with the first-grade rank in 1878. In 1881 the inauguration of the M. A. classes were held while the Bachelor of Law classes were added in 1883. The postgraduate Departments in Arts and in Law continued till 1909 when they were withdrawn because the college could not meet the requirements of the New Regulations of the University of Calcutta which came into force in that year.

The college started with only 6 students in 1873. There was only one Muslim student at the college in 1873. In 1878 it was still one, but the figure soon rose to 156 in 1916 and in the next year, the college first started enrolling female students. In Bangladesh, the college was accorded 'University College' status but it was demoted to the Higher Secondary Level in 1996 . At present, it is affiliated with the National University system of Bangladesh and its curriculum includes undergraduate and post-graduate courses in a variety of disciplines.

The main administrative building is a good example of British Indian colonial architecture. Other important older buildings of the colonial period include the Fuller Hostel Biology Building, Chemistry Building, Physics Building, former Muslim Hostel and others. Newer buildings include the Library and Auditorium, an Arts building and a new Science building were built in 1950's .

The first building of the college was constructed in 1884. The first PN Hostel was established by the Rajshahi Association in 1894 at the time of Roy Bahadur Kumudinikanta Bandhopadhyay. He had a major contribution as the Principal of the college. In 1902, Hemantakumari Hostel was built with the financial assistance of Hemantakumari, the Rani of Puthia.

In 1904, the Moharani Hemantakumari Sanskrit College was also established under the administration of Rajshahi College to provide Sanskrit teaching without any cost. Raja Krishnananda Hall of the college was built in 1910 by the financial assistance of Kumar Sharadindu Ray of Balihar.

In 1915, the college authority constructed the Physics building at a cost of Rs 57,145. At the initiative of the Rajshahi Association and by the efforts of the Principal Kumudinikanta a total of six hostels were built in 1922 and a two-storied building in 1923.

The Basantakumar Agricultural Institute was established in 1936 under the Rajshahi College administration with the financial assistance of Basantakumar Roy of Dhigapathia. The institute was closed down in 1952 and its building became a hostel of the college.

At present, the college offers 20 Honours courses and 21 Masters Courses under the national university. It has 166 teachers, 33 of whom are female. The college library is rich with many rare books, gazettes, encyclopedias, manuscripts, and ancient puthi manuscripts. In 1998, the library had a total of 69,439 books.

Rajshahi College is one of the oldest colleges of Bangladesh. Rajshahi University started from this college. Every year a lot of students are graduating from here and contributing a lot for Bangladesh. We hope that this college will continue it's remarkable contribution as it has been doing from 1873.

A.K. Ratan is the Rajshahi University correspondent of The Daily Star

M.A. Kaioum is a 3rd year student of Mass Communication and Journalism department, Rajshahi University

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2008