The institution should be a perpetual creation by the co-operative enthusiasm of teachers and students, growing with the growth of their souls, a word in itself self-sustaining, independent, rich ...more
The institution should be a perpetual creation by the co-operative enthusiasm of teachers and students, growing with the growth of their souls, a word in itself self-sustaining, independent, rich with ever-renewing life, radiating across space and time, attracting and maintaining round it a planetary system of independent bodies. Its aim should be to impart life-breath, to complete man who is intellectual as well as economic, bound by social bonds but aspiring towards spiritual freedom.”, said once Tagore. This is true for this century-old institution. Our forefather said in 1865 that “…the College will serve as fresh point of union between the East and West, and help to bridge over that gulf of mutual distrust which a mere secular education tends to widen.” Our mission is to educate students who shall be so spiritually, morally, mentally and physically educated that they can assume leadership in the country. Against this milieu, the history of St. Paul’s C.M. College is emphatically the history of progress not by leaps, but by steps since an educational institution is a place of learning, light and liberty.The Church Missionary Society established in 1799 made contact with a great milestone in the sphere of primary and secondary education in different parts of the country. To diffuse its influence and ideals and to take part in higher education, Friends of the Society in India made public its wisdom by asserting that the CMS should play a vibrant role in this direction. The immediate need of establishing a Degree College for higher education in Calcutta, under the control of the CMS, was brought to the notice of the Missionary Bodies in England by E.B.Cowell, the legendary Sanskrit scholar. Prof. Cowell’s recommendations found good turn to Bishop Cotton, Metropolitan of India and Lord Bishop of Calcutta who dreamt that the institution “should be open to all comers, Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians alike” and the “course of studies should be leavened with the Christian spirit.” In these parts of a contemporary world where missionary activities, in the name of providing education and health to the underprivileged, are often envisioned as a gizmo for religious conversion, St. Paul’s C.M. College never in its whole life practiced this spiteful game. On July 5, 1864 the Church Missionary Society’s Committee resolved “That the Calcutta Corresponding Committee be authorized to take measures for the establishment of the Church Missionary Society’s College in Calcutta, to be affiliated to the Calcutta University, ….” Calcutta saw the birth of a new College in December 1864 in a rented house at 25 Sookea Street (now Kailash Bose Street). The official date of birth of “Cathedral Mission College” is January 19, 1865 when the Governor-General-Council was pleased to authorize the affiliation of the Cathedral Mission College to the University of Calcutta with effect from the first instant (under Section 12, Act II of 1857). The College moved from 25 Sookea Street to centrally located premises 12 Old College Square or new 22 Mirzapore Street in May 1867. The new buildings being completed in February 1868 formed a considerable ornament to the south side of the College Square. Rev. J. Barton was hailed as the chief founder and the first Principal of the College (1865-69).
After receiving its affiliation as a “First Arts College” of the Calcutta University, it began its odyssey with 193 students and 6 teaching staff. The course of the study offered was the course prescribed by the Calcutta University for the First Arts Examination and the Degree of B.A. in English and Sanskrit languages, Mental and Moral Philosophy, History and Mathematics. The teaching of Science did not form a part of its curriculum in this predominantly small residential Arts College. The Rev. John Barton – the first Principal of the college –said in his first Annual Report of the college, “ We hope that the College will serve as a fresh point of union between the East and West, and help to bridge over that gulf of mutual distrust which a mere secular education tends to widen.” While stating the aim of the college, Prof J. Welland said, “It was not that we might offer a good secular education to those whose circumstances might prevent their obtaining it elsewhere, nor was it to proselytize or win over a few young men to a particular creed, but because we wished in all sincerity to offer them an education worthy, we do not say of pleaders, or of magistrates, or writers, but worthy of men who must ere long pass away for ever from this world and enter on the eternal existence as a preparation for which, this life has its sole value.” The aim of the college is encapsulated in one little sentence: “The development of a complete manhood is our object and we must not aim at anything less than this.”
It was resolved that we would not stop sailing on the vast ocean since we live in a society where change is the permanent feature. The college then stood on the edge of a new frontier. The year 1869 stands as landmark in the history of this college when it moved from its rented house to its own building at 12, College Square, now 22 Surya Sen Street (formerly Mirzapoore Street). Clouds beyond clouds, however, gathered over the skies of the college in 1877 when it was unwaveringly decided not to continue Cathedral Mission College in Calcutta and by 1880, the Cathedral Mission College severed off its affiliation to the University of Calcutta. The College building now came for fostering the Divinity School.In these train of events, almost two golden decades went off beam from the life of the college. Silver lining, however, fringed the dark shadows and the moment for seventh heaven came in 1899 – the centenary year of the CMS – when the college was re-christened as the Church Missionary Society’s College (CMS College). The College classes were started on July 3, 1899 when “the Calcutta University granted affiliation to the CMS College in Arts up to the FA standard.” Thus, we are not a failure. This is our career and triumph that we admire and respect.
With their zest, enterprise, and vision of a bright future, the Mission authorities purchased a large plot of land - 4 acres - adjoining the Amherst Street Mission Compound in February 1907. The College was indeed passing through a period of transition . In July 1908, the College was removed to its present site when the college had the roll strength of only 23 students since the College building could not be completed at the beginning of the academic session. Under the Revised University Regulations, the college was granted permission to teach English, Bengali, Mathematics, Sanskrit, Latin, History, and Logic. Meanwhile, the University decided to abolish F.A. in favour of Intermediate in Arts. However, the College was denied to teach science subjects since the College did not have well-equipped laboratories. Amid patches of murkiness and despondency and deterrents like mammoth accumulated debt following the construction of a new college building, and cold-shouldering to repeated appeals for grant from the Government’s end, there was occasional sunshine that requires to be underlined in the career graph of the college. Rev. W.E.S. Holland who became Principal of this College in 1912 came to rescue by raising funds in England for the building of the College Hostel. Jani Ali Hostel was opened in the college compound in September 1911, named after Rev. Jani Ali. St. David’s Hostel was opened in 1913. This year was marked by the birth of the College Magazine.
St Paul's Cathedral Mission College,
33/1 Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani
(formerly Amherst Street),
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