Saturday, December 9, 2017

200 Years Of Serampore College

      "Letter Town" (অক্ষর শহর) is another name of Serampore. This town and its 'Serampore College' is the witness of nineteenth centuries renaissance. 

           Serampore Mission Press - the effort of Mahatma William Carey and obviously the second oldest college of Asia 'Serampore College' played unforgettable role in the history of India's educational culture. It was the beginning of India's book printing history. Not only the Sanskrit translation of Bible, text books in Bengali and in other regional languages, dictionaries and other kind of books used to first publish from Serampore and circulated in the whole country. Oldest periodicals of India like 'Samachar Darpan', 'Dik Darshan' and 'The Friend of India' used to publish from this small town too. Indian epics like 'Ramayan' by Krittibas, 'Mahabharat' by Kashiram Das too published for the first time from Serampore. Bengali letter inventor Panchanan Karmakar helped Carey on this mission of book printing. 

           Asia's second oldest college "Serampore College" is about to celebrate 200 years of foundation (1818-2017). William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward jointly established this college.

Carey primarily came to India as a Missionary. But he gradually dedicated himself in transmission of education and reformation of society. He studied phytography, he was linguist, anthropogenic and above all a social reformer. Joshua Marshman and William Ward helped him in these fields. The history of this college is the outcome of their efforts. Theology and unbiased religious education co-existed here for the last two hundred years. It is a unique feature of this college. Serampore College achieved autonomy of university in the year 1827 by the Charters granted by king sixth Frederick of Denmark. Later these rights were recognised in the year 1918 by Parliament of Bengal. But at present the college has the right to act as university only in the sector of Theology. 

        The section of Arts, Science and Commerce of Serampore College is existed since the inception of Calcutta University. Till now, Serampore College is being counted as one of the best college of Calcutta University. It is a matter of pride that Serampore College was rewarded 'A' grade by NAAC for two times consecutively. 

         Celebrations of 200 years of Serampore College has begun on 20th November 2017 and it will run for the next 12 months. It is proposed that the avenue in front of college and the adjacent bank of River Ganga will be beautified soon. The first building of this college 'Aldin House' may be renovated too.

          The Dutch selected this town in the middle of nineteenth century as their colony and named it 'Fredrick Nagar' and Serampore gradually flourished as a commercial town. But the educational scenario of the then Bengal was not so impressive. So, in the year 1800, William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward came to Serampore and had started their activities of spreading education amongst women.

             In the year 1818, they started Serampore College in 'Aldin House' at the bank of River Ganga. Total 37 students admitted then in the college. Irrespective of casts and creeds - the door of this college was open to all. The Government of Denmark gifted the college about 10 acres of land on which the new building was constructed and in the year 1822 the college shifted in the present building. The pictures below are the old 'Aldin House' which is under dilapidated condition:

But the mosaic work inside the ruined house is almost intact:

However, proposal has been placed for the renovation and restoration of this very old historical house.

            In the new building of the college, Serampore Mission Library became the own library of Serampore College. The then King of Denmark gifted the staircase of main building and main gate made of iron to the college: 

          On 23 February 1827 by dint of Royal Charter granted by Frederick the VI - the King of Denmark, Serampore College became a university. William Carey was the first principal of college. In the year 1833, the constitution of college became effective. Carey was the first Master of college Council. After him, Joshua Marshman became the principal.

         The initiation of bicentenary function was held with the remembrances of 'Serampore Trio' Carey, Marshman and Ward.

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