Aliah University started its glorious journey from the 2008-09 academic session with great potential and immense opportunities. It is hoped that this university, harmonizing tradition and modernity, will emerge as a unique institution of higher studies and research. As per Aliah University Act 2007, Section 3 (3), it has been conferred the status of a minority educational institution. Aliah University is an autonomous university under the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education, Government of West Bengal. It is hoped that along with the people of any race, creed, caste or class, this University will play a crucial and leading role in the advancement of higher education for socially and educationally backward classes belonging to the Minorities
Aliah University has with it the rich heritage of the 229-year old educational and cultural institution, Mohammedan College of Calcutta, popularly known as Madrasah-i-Aliah or Calcutta Madrasah, the first educational institution set up in India in 1780 by Warren Hestings, the then Governor General of East India Company. Thus, one of the oldest centres of higher learning and culture, the institution is steeped in history. Many eminent scholars were associated with this institution as administrators, principals, teachers as well as students.Calcutta Madrasah was upgraded to Calcutta Madrasah College and then to Aliah University by the Government of West Bengal through Aliah University Act XXVII of 2007 passed in West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
Calcutta Madrasah was established chiefly for the study of the Arabic and Persian languages and Muslim Law so that the sons of the Muslim gentry can perform the duties as officers for running the revenue administration and judiciary. The Naib Nizam was instructed to recruit the students of the Madrasah as vacancies occurred in the Fauzdari Courts, on production of certificates of efficiency. However, within a decade Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Astronomy, Islamic Theology, Oriental Studies, Natural Philosophy, Geological Studies, Law, Logic, Rhetoric, Grammar, and Oratory were added on the list of prescribed subjects for study. In 1821, the Annual Examination of the Madrasah was held in the presence of many respectable officials and gentlemen of Calcutta. This was the first public examination held in British India. A medical class, headed by Dr Breton, Professor of Medicine, was started at this Madrasah in 1826 for the first time in British India. Dr Breton was authorized to purchase a skeleton and collect medical books. An anatomical work published by John Taylor was arranged to be translated into Arabic. The medical class continued here till the establishment of Calcutta Medical College in 1836. However, the students of the Madrasah were allowed to study medicine at Calcutta Medical College. This speaks for the high standard of education at the Madrash in those days.
This clearly shows that the curricula taught at this institution were a blend of theological studies, natural sciences and the humanities, as was done in the world-wide madrasah system of education which produced the galaxy of scholars who made original contributions to astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, geology, art & architecture, and so on. The authorities tried to introduce English as a subject for study in 1826. However, not many students were found willing to learn English as Persian was still the medium of administration in India. But in 1837 the colonial government replaced Persian with English as the official language. So the Anglo-Arabic Department was opened at the Madrash in 1839 for the teaching of English. However, at the recommendation of a Committee, again in 1854, this Anglo-Arabic Department was abolished and an English school, in the name of Anglo-Persian Department, was started under the direct control of the Principal of Calcutta Madrasah. The great reformist Nawab Abdul Latif (1828-1893), a product of Calcutta Madrasah, played an important role in the establishment of this Department so that Muslim children could receive the much-needed English education.
Vision of the University
Aliah University is marching on with a vision to recapture the ambience and dynamic cultural heritage of the madrasah system, to expand and deepen it, to evolve it further with a successful outreach into the emerging areas in each branch of modern science, technology, social studies, and humanities. We would like to instil the dynamism of the glorious heritage of the past among all our students, so that they can successfully cope with the critical needs and challenges of the present and contribute to the future advancement of science, technology, and human civilization, develop love and respect for fellow citizens of the country, and integrate themselves to the nation. The University envisages creation of ever-expanding opportunities for higher education and research in traditional as well as newly emerging areas for the capacity-building and empowerment through all-round development of our countrymen, particularly the socially and educationally backward classes belonging to the Minorities. The University shall also develop, with its rich resources and immense potential, Centres of Excellence for higher studies in classical languages, Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic culture, comparative religion, science and technology, professional and management education. Through its Centre for Vocational Studies (CVS), the University has undertaken programmes for development of skills amongst the minorities, particularly the out-of-school people and school/college drop-outs, so that their economic conditions improve through wage / self-employment opportunities. At the initial stage, due to lack of adequate infrastructural facilities, the University had to go for public-private partnership, but now, from the 2009-2010 session, the university has started several of its academic programmes on its own. Very soon, when its new campus becomes ready, the university will go for further expansion of its teaching, research, and training programmes.
Aliah University, Kolkata has 28 Departments listed that offer various academic courses.
Scholarships are grant-in-aid to a student who wants to pursue education at Aliah University, Kolkata