|Motto||Vidyaya Vindatey Amritam|
|Affiliations||University of Calcutta|
Bethune College (pronounced "Bee-ton") is the first women's college in India. It was founded as a school in 1849 by John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, and in 1879 developed into the first women's college in India, after whom it is named as Bethune College.
Vision and initiative
Bethune College was founded by John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, who had arrived in India in April 1848 as the Law Member of the Governor General's Council. He received the support of Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar, Ramgopal Ghosh, Raja Dakshinaranjan Mukherjee and other eminent personalities in his effort to promote women's education.
The Hindu Female School was built first on a piece of land donated by Raja Dakshina Ranjan Mukherjee at Mirzapur in Calcutta which was renamed as Bethune School on 7 May 1849 which started functioning with twenty-one girls on its roll. Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was the Secretary of the Managing Committee of the Institution and also one of its chief patrons. Bethune donated all his movable and immovable property to the school. After the death of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune on 12 August 1851, the school was shifted to a new building on the West of Cornwallis Square, where its foundation stone was laid on 6 November 1850.
Amalgamation with Banga Mahila Vidyalaya
Monomohun Ghose who was secretary to the Bethune School Committee and was also connected with Banga Mahila Vidyalaya played an important part in the amalgamation of these two institutions. Chief Justice Sir Richard Garth, who was president of Bethune School paid a visit to Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and was highly pleased with the arrangements and the instruction imparted to the girls. The result was an offer from the committee of Bethune School to Banga Mahila Vidyalaya for amalgamation, which came about on 1 August 1878. In 1879, Kadambini Bose, a student of the reorganised Bethune School became the first woman to pass the University of Calcutta entrance examination.
It was the intense desire of Kadambini Bose to pursue higher studies prompted the Government to explore the alternative of setting up a Women's College. The college started functioning in 1879 with only one enrolment of Kadambini Bose. In 1883 another student Chandramukhi Basu joined her. In 1883, both Kadambini and Chandramukhi qualified in the degree examinations of the University of Calcutta.In February 1888, Bethune College received affiliation to the University of Calcutta up to the B.A. standard
The college is affiliated to the University of Calcutta.
- "Debate: Are women-only colleges relevant today?". The Times of India. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), (1976/1998), Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) Vol I, in Bengali, p 366, ISBN 81-85626-65-0
- Bagal, Jogesh Chandra, History of the Bethune School and College (1849-1949) in Bethune College and School Centenary Volume, edited by Dr. Kalidas Nag, 1949, pp. 33-35
- Official website of Bethune College, History of Bethune College