Raja Peary Mohan College
|Raja Peary Mohan College|
|Established||20th June, 1887|
|Principal||Dr. Milan Kumar Pal|
|Affiliations||University of Calcutta|
Raja Peary Mohan College is a general purpose college in Hooghly District of West Bengal, India under the University of Calcutta. It offers intermediate and undergraduate level courses in various arts, sciences and commerce subjects. The college a popular institution for undergraduate study in the neighborhood of Uttarpara, the Hooghly district, Howrah and the North 24 Parganas. The college was established in 1881 by late Raja Joy Krishna Mukherjee (who was the father of Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee), a leading social reformer and educationist of colonial Bengal, when it was under the British rule.
Situated on the banks of river Ganges, more commonly known as the Hooghly River or the Bhagirathi, at the junction of three districts of West Bengal, namely Hooghly, Howrah and the 24 Parganas (North), Raja Peary Mohan College is a premier institution of higher education in Uttarpara. It is one of the oldest institutions of higher education not only in Bengal but in the whole of India. When Raja Peary Mohan College, formerly Uttarpara College, was founded in the late nineteenth century by a benevolent social reformer of the district of Hooghly, nobody anticipated that from its humble beginning this college could reach a goal of excellence in academic, social and cultural fields. In true sense the present recognition and distinctions were built upon the heritage of a glorious past, but it had also records of rough times now and then. Nevertheless, the college endeavored to the cause of education despite various odds at different stages with commendable devotion for more than a century and keeping in pace with contemporary demands it has been currently trying to develop and cater the needs of the students. Thus just beyond the boundaries of the metropolis of Kolkata, Raja Peary Mohan College has developed itself as an eminent center of learning and as one of the biggest co-educational colleges of West Bengal, being affiliated to the University of Calcutta.
The college campus is located on the west bank of river Hooghly in Uttarpara, Hooghly ( ). The college enjoys a very pleasant view of the famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple which is on the other side of the river.
Goals of the institution
- To excel as a higher education center for humanities, commerce and science streams.
- To contribute towards the spread of female education.
- To provide higher education to financially weaker section of the people in rural and urban areas of nearby districts like Hooghly District, Howrah and North 24 Parganas in West Bengal.
- To provide the opportunity of higher education to adult earning students.
Foundation and the founder
Raja Peary Mohan College was founded on 20 June 1887 by Raja Joykrishna Mukherjee, a benevolent zamindar of Uttarpara in a place which is very near to the famous Grand Trunk Road and the Hooghly river. Situated just on the opposite bank of the river is the famous temple of Goddess Kali at Dakshineswar where Ramakrishna Paramhansa attained his spiritual bliss and Swami Vivekananda met his Guru. At the time of foundation, the college was known as Uttarpara College. Joykrishna Mukherjee, the founder of this age-old institution was a legendary figure as promoter of education and social reformer in the nineteenth century Bengal. As a supporter of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's social reforms, he is still remembered as the first signatory to the historic petition sent to Lord Dalhousie, praying for the legalization of Hindu widow marriage in 1856. He made an extensive attempt for the spread of education particularly in the rural areas. By 1858 he was able to establish as many as 31 schools in the districts of Howrah, Hooghly District and Bardhaman. He applied for establishing a Girl's School at Uttarpara in 1849 which was turned down by the East India Company's Government. Failing to establish a Girl's School, he donated Rs. 10,000/- to Bethune School, Calcutta, for the cause of female education. The historic Uttarpara Public Library bears testimony to his desire for spread of education. This was the first free Non-Government Public circulating Library in India. Joykrishna was also instrumental in the establishment of the Uttarpara Govt. High School and finally at an advanced age when he had lost his eyesight he fulfilled his cherished dream of establishing Uttarpara College. Joykrishna Mukherjee applied to East India Company to open a college at Uttarpara. But his proposal was turned down. However his quest continued even after the transfer of administration from the Company to the Crown in 1858 and it was after three refusals that the colonial Government finally gave a nod and the college was finally established on the 20th June, 1887 with thirty one students on its Roll. Unfortunately, Joykrishna Mukherjee breathed his last in 1888 only one year after the foundation of the College. It is noteworthy that Probal Chandra Mukherjee, himself a member of the founder's family was the first student of the College.
Early years (1887 - 1923)
In 1889 the newly founded college was amalgamated with the Uttarpara Govt. High School and came under the management of the government. Eight years later the Government retained only the school's management and the college came under the benevolent patronage of Raja Peary Mohan, worthy son and successor of the late Joykrishna Mukherjee. Peary Mohan Mukherjee was certainly a chip of the old block and a remarkable personality of his age. Besides Uttarpara College, he was also closely associated with Bangabasi College and Surendranath Colleges of Calcutta and one of the founders of the Carmichael Medical College. He presided over a mammoth gathering at the then Town Hall, Calcutta to give a public reception to the Swami Vivekananda. In 1887, when the College was founded Shyama Charan Ganguly, the headmaster of the Govt. School became temporarily the Principal. However, the first Principal Kaliprasanna Ganguly joined in 1897. Throughout his life Raja Peary Mohan spent huge sum of money for the College and it was in the fitness of things that the College was renamed after his memory in 1953.
Period of crisis (1923 -1953)
The demise of this great patron-benefactor of the college in 1923, however, did not lead the college to an altogether cul de sac, for his son Kumar Bhupendra Nath Mukherjee, too, inherited the Renaissance idealism and reformative zeal of his grand father and his father. He, too, like his father contributed a substantial financial assistance for the maintenance and survival of the college. In fact, since its inception Raja Peary Mohan College was dependent upon the Mukherjee family for financial help as no help came from the then Government. In 1932 a decision was taken by the Governing Body to close down the college. However, the teachers and the non-teaching staff decided to work voluntarily for the college and set an example of extreme self-dedication. Dhruba Kumar Pal, the then Principal gave a dynamic leadership in this critical juncture. He joined the college as a lecturer and officiating principal in 1924 and finally became the permanent Principal in 1926 and remained in the post till 1950. Dhruba Kumar Pal and other teachers like Pasupati Ganguly, Pannalal Mukherjee, Ramchandra Bhattacharjee, Mahendranath Gupta etc. set an exemplary devotion. Local citizens and ex-students came forward with donations. Representations were made to the Bengal Government. Finally after many years of hardship, it was on 21 August 1938 a team including A. K. Fazlul Huq, the chief minister, Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, the finance minister and the DPI, visited the college and the college was approved of a financial grant from the Directorate of Public Education in Bengal. The college has been functioning as a second-grade college for over sixty years, i.e. up to intermediate class only and that too in Arts. It was because the college was dependent on private resources. In 1941, there were only nine lecturers. Since 1938, the college however used to enjoy a Government grant of Rs. 250/-, supplemented by additional amount since August, 1947 and an effort was now being taken to upgrade the college. After the demise of Acharya Dhruba Kumar Pal who piloted the College through its darkest days for long 25 years, Kiran Chandra Gupta became the Principal in 1950. He along with his colleagues devoted all their energy to raise the status of the college. Science section was opened in 1950 and a well-equipped Biological Laboratory, named as Dhruba Kumar Pal Memorial Lab, started functioning. Private B.A. Class for female students was started from the 1952-53. A new four-storied building was constructed in the open land adjacent to the old dilapidated College building.
The New Era (1953 - Till Date)
In addition to the already existing Arts Stream, Science section was opened in 1950, although classes were limited to the then intermediate standard. In a function held on the 4th of October, 1953 the college was renamed as Raja Peary Mohan College after its benefactor. In 1955 the college got its affiliation for B.A. from the University of Calcutta, for B.Sc. in 1956 and B.Com. in 1958. In 1960 the college was transferred to the University of Burdwan. Later it was due to the efforts of a number of protest meetings and demonstrations against this move that the college came back once again under the affiliation of the University of Calcutta. The college celebrated its Centenary with much pomp and grandeur. In commemoration of this grand occasion and to meet the stringent problem of space, the then chief minister, Jyoti Basu laid the foundation of a new building on 22 June 1986. The Centenary building, which is now complete and has undoubtedly solved the acute space-problem faced by the teachers, students and the staff, has endowed the college with a new look. An Auditorium with 320 seats and all modern amenities was inaugurated on 15 January 2002. This auditorium is also used by social organizations, schools, Cine Club etc. as a platform to carry out various activities related to overall cultural upliftment of the area. Today the students come to this College not only from the rural areas of Hooghly and Howrah, but also from the outskirts of Kolkata and other districts too. Honours classes started in the college for the first time in 1959 in the department of Bengali and mathematics. Gradually honours affiliation came in philosophy (1961), physics (1964), zoology (1965), political science (1966), economics (1966), chemistry (1966), commerce (1972), physiology (1990), botany (1996), English (1996) and history (2002).The departments have fared well in examinations with university toppers in a number of subjects.
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