Rajshahi College

Overview of Rajshahi College

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Rajshahi College established in 1873 with the financial assistance of Raja Haralal Roy Bahadur of Dubalhati. Raja Haranath Roy donated land for the establishment of the college and the annual income from the property was five thousand rupees. Within a short period after establishment, the college became one of the main centres of higher education for the inhabitants of East Bengal, North Bengal, Bihar, Purnia and Assam. The FA (First Arts) classes of the college started on 1 April 1873 at the premises of the Rajshahi Zilla School (later Rajshahi Collegiate School). The first batch of students included only six boys and one of them was a Muslim. The number of students reached about 1000 in 1930 and in the next year, the college started taking girl students.
In 1970, the college had 1,840 students, of whom about 300 were girls. The college vastly expanded after the independence of Bangladesh and in 1990, the number of students was 4,732, of whom 1,352 were girls. The enrolment increased to about 8,000 in 2000.
The first principal of the college was Haragobinda Sen, who was the Headmaster of Rajshahi Zilla School. He served the college for five years (1873-1878). Of the first batch of students appearing in the FA examinations in 1875 only two passed. The government wanted to abolish the college but had to abandon the idea thanks to the efforts of the Rajshahi Association, which rather pressed for transforming it into an upgraded college by introducing BA courses. The founder president of Rajshahi Association Raja Promothnath Roy Bahadur of Dhigapathia gave Rs 150,000 to the government through the Rajshahi Association for introducing Degree programme in the college. The college got affiliation for the Degree programme in October 1877 and introduced BA courses in 1878. F T Dowding joined as principal of the college in 1879.
The first building of the college (now serving as the administrative building) was constructed in 1884. PN Hostel, the college's first hostel, was established by the Rajshahi Association in 1894. Roy Bahadur Kumudinikanta Bandhopadhyay while serving the college as principal (1897-1919, 1920-1924) contributed a lot to its development. In 1902, Hemantakumari Hostel was built with the money of Hemantakumari, the Rani of Puthia.
In 1904, the Moharani Hemantakumari Sanskrit College was established under the administration of Rajshahi College to provide sanskrit teaching without tuition fee. Raja Krishnananda Hall of the college was built in 1910 by the financial assistance of Kumar Sharadindu Ray of Balihar. In 1915, the college authority constructed the Physics building at a cost of Rs 57,145. At the initiative of the Rajshahi Association and by the efforts of the Principal Kumudinikanta a total of six hostels were built: five at a total cost of Rs 3,53,863 in 1922 and a two-storied one at a cost of Rs 78,000 in 1923. The Arts building was constructed in 1925-26 session at a cost of Rs 86,809. In 1927, a residential house for the Principal was built on the bank of the river padma to the south of the college. Gradually, other buildings were constructed on approximately 35 acres of land.
In 1884, the Rajshahi Madrasah building was built on the college premises. The madrasah was shifted elsewhere in 1930, and the same year, the Fuller Hostel, built in 1909, was handed over to the college. The Basantakumar Agricultural Institute was established in 1936 under the Rajshahi College administration with the financial assistance of Basantakumar Roy of Dhigapathia. The institute was closed down in 1952 and its building became a hostel of the college.
The college got affiliation for MA courses in 1881 and in Bachelor of Law courses in 1883 from the Calcutta University. Within a few years, eight students earned their MAs and sixty students got their BL degrees from the Rajshahi College. In 1909, MA and BL courses were suspended.
In East Pakistan, the college was first affiliated to the university of dhaka and later, to the university of rajshahi which was established in 1953. Courses in I Com, B Com (Pass) and B Com (Honours) programmes were introduced in the college in 1952, 1954 and 1961 respectively. In 1994, Masters level courses were re-introduced under affiliation with the national university. The college closed down the higher secondary level courses in 1996.

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At present, the college offers 19 Honours courses and 21 Masters courses. It has 166 teachers, of which 33 are women. The college library is rich with many rare books, gazettes, encyclopaedias, manuscripts, and ancient puthi manuscripts. In 1998, the library had a total of 69,439 books.

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