India's historical and old colonial universities (1800s) - 01

Being a land of oldest civilizations in the world, for centuries India had followed a traditional method called Gurukulam to impart knowledge to a select group of students in their early age. It was more or less a  residential system. This slowly evolved into a monastic system of education, as it was common among the Buddhists. Then came the oldest universities in India in the fourth and fifth centuries. The Nalanda university was a reputed university with a library, hundreds of students and good teachers. So was Taxila university. They were gone, leaving behind the ruins and rubble due to invasions from the NW. Muslim education arrived with arrival of Islam centuries before the arrival of Europeans. Besides, religion, Muslim education gave basic knowledge of subjects relevant to life.

With the arrival of the English and their enterprise East India company, western education was introduced in India after they had finally consolidated their hold on the land and the people. We also had  an advantage of western education. Our old culture and heritage got the attention of the Europeans through English scholars. The world came to know about the richness of various Indian languages, in particular Sanskrit and also other fields.
India boasts of some of the oldest colleges and universities built during the colonial period. Below listed are some of the old, historical institutions built in the 1800s and a brief account about them. The credit goes to numerous Christian missionaries who emphasized the value of western education in India in the midst of their missionary work. Indians, at last, accepted the western approach to education without  compromising on India's age-old tradition, culture and heritage.

University of Mumbai:
 Estd.: 1857

 University of Mumbai, Mumbai. estd.

 The main campus of the University of Mumbai is situated at Kalina, Santacruz in Mumbai. However, its first campus was set up at South Mumbai, known as the Fort Campus. It is one of the first state universities in India and still caters to thousands of students.

1823  Elphinstone college, Mumbai.

Above image:   Elphinstone College Building, in Byculla, Mumbai, MH was  designed by James Trubshaw, it played a major role in the starting of Univ. of Mumbai (Bombay). EC changed the educational perspectives and the landscape of this part of India. The college was formally instituted in 1835 and named after Mountstuart Elphinstone, Scottish administrator and historian. He was the governor of Bombay Presidency from 1819 to 1827.............................

The University of Mumbai  established in 1857  was  modeled on the universities in Great Britain, particularly University of London. This was in response to a petition from the Bombay Association to the then British government of India drafted by Sir Charles Wood in 1854. Elphinstone College, founded in 1835 was part of the university, so were the departments  and the faculty of art. In 1845 the faculty of medicine at Grant Medical College came up and in   1862, medical degrees were awarded. Because of space, the Town Hall was used as a make-shift university offices for a long time. PG courses were introduced in 1904. After India's independence, Bombay University Act of 1953 was passed. It became  University of Mumbai as per a gazette of the Government of Maharashtra dated 4 September 1996. In 1949, student enrolment was 42,272 with 80 affiliated colleges.

Madras university:
Estd: 1857
Madras University,

Madras university has been  a popular university for a pretty long time. Now it  has six campuses in the city. These are at Chepauk, Marina, Guindy, Taramani, Maduravoyal and Chetpet.  It got ranked 5th by the India Today in its 2011 top universities ranking.

Logo. The University of Madras.

 Above image:  The University of Madras is a public state university in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Established in 1857. Logo .........

Based on a  public petition, signed by 70,000 residents  presented by the Advocate General Mr. George Norton on 11 November 1839, pressing  the need for an English college in the city of Madras, in the follow up Lord Elphinstone had a plan to have  a central collegiate institution or a ‘university.’ built with two departments - a high school for the cultivation of English literature, regional language, philosophy and science, and a college for instruction in the higher branches of literature, philosophy and science.

Mr. George Norton as its President in 1840 the University Board was  established  and this was  the precursor of the present Presidency College, Chennai. Based on Wood's dispatch for "creating a properly articulated system of education from the primary school to the University",  the University of Madras came into being on the model of the University of London.  It was incorporated on 5 September 1857 by an Act of the Legislative Council of India.



The Serampore College, Serampore (West Bengal):
Estd: 1818

18181 Fa├žade of the Serampore College near Kolkata

Above image: Serampore College, Kolkata (Calcutta0 founded on 15 July 1818 CE is the second oldest college in in the country next to the Presidency College, Kolkata. It has two entities -  theological college and college for science and arts. Noe arts and science degrees are awarded by the univ. of Calcutta and the  Senate of Serampore College (University)  awards the  theological degrees. Serampore college was born in Aldeen House,  Kolkata. It was in decrepit condition and was recently renovated. Aldeen House had been a center of learning where a batch of 37 students mostly Europeans s learnt Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, astronomy, geology and botany. In In 1821, the college shifted to the present campus..............

.1818 Serampore college, near Kolkata

Serampore College, Kolkata,

Founded by Protestant missionaries known as  the Serampore Trio William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward in 1818, the  purpose of the Serampore College, about 33 km from Kolkata city,   was  to spread Eastern literature to he western world,   impart western educations in arts, science and commerce  to the Indian natives regardless of caste and creed without compromising on Indian traditional values and languages on one hand and on the other, to impart training  in the area of missionary work for those interested in the Christian faith. 

One is  just a conventional college and the other being religion -oriented a Theological college with rights to confer theological degrees  as well  under the administration of the Senate of Serampore College (University). As for the   Senate, they  got the right to grant degrees through a Royal Charter in Copenhagen, Denmark 
by the king of Denmark, Frederick VI as the Serampore area and near-by places were  in the Dutch settlement.  The credit goes to  Joshua Marshman's visit to King Frederick in August 1826  who convinced the king and requested them to have an autonomous status. The charter gave Serampore College the privilege of awarding degrees in arts and theology as well, a rare one. This institution  became the third Danish University after the ones in Copenhagen and Kiel (till its affiliation with the university of Calcutta  1857 the arts, science and commerce parts of Serampore College were affiliated to the University of Calcutta

Though the British on February 22, 1845, bought all the Indian assists of the Dutch colony,   the management and functioning  of the college continued without interruption under the direction of a master and council.  After the founding of   Calcutta University in 1857 under the British   the  Serampore  College became affiliated with it, whereas  Theological college became  an autonomous institution on its own and  had the rights to grant  degree under University  Grants Commission of the UGC Act, 1956.  Affiliating again with the University of Calcutta in 1911, Serampore College, in 1913, received authorization to award the Bachelor of Arts degree. 
On December 4, 1915, the first group of Bachelor of Divinity students graduated.  By 1960 twenty other Indian colleges and seminaries affiliated themselves with Serampore

Taking inspiration from the early pioneers of the Serampore  College -   protestant trio  William Carey, Marshman, and Ward in the 19th and 20th centuries, this college   this college  has  been doing a yeomen service to the cause of education since its inception, preparing the students well to face the future challenges in the society that would put the country on the forward mode. 

Outside the Christian community, the college  got a name and became a well-known institution of excellence. The college has one of the best libraries housing more than 16000 rare books sometimes sought by scholars from other countries;  aptly named after Carey Library. All the three founders of the college believed in teaching subjects in the native tongue, but the British government preferred English to the native languages. It  is both Oriental and Occidental in  character, giving due importance to education in the regional  languages.

Indian postal stamp 7 June 1969

Above image: Postal  commemoration  stamp issued in 1969 celebrating Serampore college's 150th year...............................

 On June 7th, 1969, the Department of Posts of the Government of India issued a stamp and a first day cover  along with a brochure on Contemporary Status.