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Midnapore Collegiate School
Midnapore Collegiate School
Midnapore Collegiate School

Haripada Mondal
( Ex Headmaster )

The genesis of the Midnapore Collegiate School goes back to the thirties of the last century when a fierce controversy was raging between the Anglicists and the Orientalists. The former wanted introduction of English education and was led by Raja Rammohan Roy to whom powerful support was lent by the redoubtable Lord Macaulay, whose boastful expressions about oriental learning have become quotable “a single self of a good European Library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia .” It was during this period of upheaval that a school was established at Midnapore, a district town.

So far we have been able to gather, the school was founded on the 14th November, 1834, as a private enterprise by some local gentlemen of Midnapore. Maharaja of Burdwan, Tejchandra Mahatab Bahadur donated a considerable amount of money at the initial stage. The number of pupils admited at the beginning was only 18 and Sri Rasiklal Sea , an ex-scholar of the Hindu College , was appointed rst Headmaster.

When we recall l834, our fond, memory travels, back to the reign of William IV, King of England . In India there was the Governor General, Lord William Bentick under the East India Company who had just laid down the reins of Government. The sudden passing away of our beloved pioneer Raja Rammohan Roy at Bristol, England, in 1833 was very shocking, fresh in the. minds of the people. The Government adopted the principle of spreading English Education in India by establishing one Zilla School (English) in each district. Pundit Iswar chandea Vidyasagar was then a student of the Sanskrit College and Rajnarayan Basu, a junior pupil of the Hare School, Calcutta, in close personal care of the illustrious David Hare himself.

Midnapore Collegiate School
Midnapore Collegiate School --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Download Wallpaper 1024*768

A Govt. Zilla School :

In September, 1835, the then Midnapore School was taken under the Government's direct care and put on an. efficient footing. An accumulated lurid of Rs-2000/- was also made over to the government in I 6, and from then the Institution ran as a full-fledged Govt. Zilla School uptil 1887.

The next 1-lead Master of this nascent Govt. School was a European, Mr. F. Tydd, appointed on the 9th July, 1836, He successfully served here for II years and in 1847 was transferred to Dacca College .

The system of receiving a fixed monthly fee, varying from 4 to 8 annas from the pupils was introduced in 1836 in order to induce rich and respectable natives to send their children to this School, as otherwise they considered it a charity School.

The earliest school building was erected in 1835 by local subscription with contribution from the benevolent Zaminder, Maharaja of Burdwan. The walls were built of brick and had a thatched roof. But in December, 1840, it accidentally caught fire and burnt to ashes. Then, for some period the school was shifted to a large hired pucca house about a hundred yards to the north-east of the present buildings (now in the College campus—'Thukbosta'). The Govt. took prompt measures, came forward with an initial contribution of Rs-600/- for erecting a new school home in 1840—41 , and the following year another grant of Its 2550/— was made for an additional school building. Thus a commodious pucca building was soon erected by the Government. In the General Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction for 1840-41 appears the following interesting description of the newly built school )house

”The school is situated to the north-west side of the sudder city between the residences of European gentry and native habitations, conveniently for both. The Headmaster's house is within the school compound. The school compound occupies a triangular piece of ground measuring 10 beeghas as, which is separated from other lands by public roads; to the west lies the jail with its large open compound, and there is nothing on the oilier two sides to prevent a free circulation of air. In about the middle of the compound is the school consisting of one large hall, measuring 60 feet by 33, supported in the middle by 4 square pillars, four; rooms 20 feet by 16 each, and two verandahs. The Hall is the apartment where all the boys are sealed before their desks; one side-room is intended for library, and the other three for 3 (three) senior English masters, to reach their respective classes in.”

It is interesting to note that with the erection of a strong new building, the promoters also enunciated and adopted a very sound system of education for this Institution. To- quote the exact words suggested for masters framed so far back as 1840,—

“The interrogative system of teaching should be carefully pursued during every step of the scholar's progress as the simplest and most effectual means of conveying knowledge.''

During 1840-42, the school was still called the Midnapore School though actually converted into a Zilla School . The following personnel's formed the Local Committee of Public Instruction:

1) Mr. Conliffe (Judge of the District).
2) Mr. Forbes ( Collector )
3) Mr. Shakespeare ( Magistrate )
4, Mr. Pagon ( Civil Surgeon )
5) M r. Grote ( Supdt. of Settlement )

There were four masters, I Pundit, I Sircer ( clerk / accountant ), I librarian and 4 servants on the establishment. The wages of the 4 servants together amounted to Rs. 19/- only. The pundit (Bengali teacher) was Gurudas Vidyalankar, and he drew at Rs. 30/- a month.

Honorable mention is to be made of a student of the senior class of those early days of the school—Navin Chander Oitch,—who headed the list of successful candidates at the Annual Examination. The great novelist Bankim Chandra's eldest brother Shyamacharan Chatterjee was studying in this school in Junior classes at that time. Kshetramohan Jana was the most favourite scholarship candidate of 1841—42, and he succeeded in obtaining it junior scholarship of Rs. 8/— P. M.

The school was then regarded as an ancillary to the Hooghly College, and as early as 1844 Principal Intherland of that College paid a visit to this School. Afterwards in 1854 (when the illustrious Rajnarayan Basu was the Head Master) Principal Kerr of that College also visited the school.

When the Head Master, Mr. Tydd, was transferred in 1847 to Dacca College , Mr. Sinclair came and took over the charge. We may be proud to utter the names of two great literary figures of Bengal who had their early education in this Institution—one, Sanjib Chandra Chattopadhyay (Novelist and famous writer of ‘Palamou') and the other, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. But they could not complete their course of study here as their father, Jadav Chandra Chattopadhyay (a Deputy Collector) was transferred to 24 Parganas in the middle of the year, 1849.

Unfortunately, Mr. Sinclair met with a sudden and premature death in 1850. It was a bolt from the blue paving the way for a boon. Now, Rajnarayan Basu came to us.

The good news was confirmed n the following communiqué sent by Pundit lswar Chjtndra Vdasagar himself from the Sanskrit College , Calcutta to Mr. F. F. C. Hayes, 0mg. Secretary to the Council of Education, Bengal :

“I have the honour to report for the information of the Council of Education that Babu
Rajnarayan Bose. resigned his post of the Second Master of English Department in the
Sanskrit College on the 22nd ultimo having been appointed Head Master of the
Midnapur School.

Sd. Jswar Chandra Sharma, Principal of the Sanskrit College .
Letter No. 639 dated 4 March 1851.

Rajnarayan was in the prime of his youth. Ifis enthusiasm knew no hounds. I Ic found a band or able teachers on the staff. Among them were:

1) Baikuntha Nath Chatterjee
2) Kuor Narain Seal
3) Nilarnbar Nag
4) Rakhaldas Dutta
5) Jadunath Mukherjee

0thers were Rasik Ghosh, Durgaprasanna Mukherjee, Durga Naran Basu, (his cousin) Nilkamal Dey, Girish Chandra Roy, Baburam Majumdar, Brajanath Goswami, (of Chandrakona), Bholanath Chakraborty, Head Pundit, Mr. Princep and Mr. Lieat Goodwin (game teachers) but all of them were not appointed at a time.

Mr. Bart, Inspector of Schools, was instrumental in persuading the School authorities to erect a Five's Court at the northern end of the School compound. He even recommended the use of gymnastics, fire-arms and horse-riding.

Rajnarayan was made of strong moral fibre and had a magnetic personally. Tinder his stewardship for about a decade and a half the Midnapore School recorded remarkable improvement. He introduced a number of innovations in the school. His method of teaching was enchanting and the boys were simply captivated by his enriched lessons and loving care. The examination results were uniformly brilliant. A large number of Students won Junior Scholarship at the Final Examination. The enrolment figures which came down to a paltry 80 immediately before his assumption of office went up to over 300 at the time when lie finally retired from Midnapore in 1856.

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