Rajshahi College (রাজশাহী কলেজ) || View in bengali

Rajshahi College (Bengali: রাজশাহী কলেজ Rajshahi Kôlej) is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Bangladesh. Established in 1873 in Rajshahi city 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.

Rajshahi College was the first institution in the territories to offers bachelor and honours degree courses in various disciplines since 1878 and Masters degree courses since 1993. The college is affiliated with the National University. The daily affairs of the college are run on the basis of guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Education.

It stopped enrolling Higher Secondary students in 1996 but again start enrolling from session 2010-2011.

It is said to be the third oldest college in Bangladesh after Dhaka College and Chittagong College. Rajshahi College was the first institution in the territories now comprising Bangladesh to award a Masters degree. It also offers three years bachelor and four years honours degree courses in various disciplines. The college is affiliated with the National University. Since 1996 it has stopped enrolling Higher Secondary students. Situated in the city center, Rajshahi College is adjacent to Rajshahi Collegiate School and is very near the famous Barendra Museum.

History & Academic Background

The origins of the college were in a private English School named “Bauliya English School” that had been founded in Rajshahi in 1828 by the concerted efforts of many of the region’s most prominent citizens (this school is now known as Rajshahi Collegiate School). In 1836 the school was taken over by the provincial government of Bengal and was converted into a Government Zilla (or District) School. In 1873, again through the concerted efforts and appeals of local citizens, the Zilla School was given the status of an Intermediate College, and F.A. courses were introduced into its curriculum. With further development this college was accorded “first-grade rank” in 1878, which meant that it could teach B.A. courses and be affiliated to the University of Calcutta. The name “Rajshahi College” came with the first-grade rank in 1878. The year 1881 saw the inauguration of the M. A. classes; B.L. classes were added in 1883. The postgraduate Departments in Arts and in Law continued till 1909 when they were withdrawn because the college could not meet the requirements of the New Regulations of the University of Calcutta which came into force in that year.

The role of the rich landlord and monarch or rajas of the adjoining areas to spread of western education was significant. Haranatha Roy Chowdhury of Dubalahati, King Pramathanath Roy of Dighapatiyara, Raja Promod Rai & Basant Rai; queen Saratsundari & Hemantkumari of Putia; Kumar Sarabindu Roy of Balihar; Khan Bahadur Emad Uddin Ahmed, translator of Kimia-E-Sa’dat Mirza Mohammad Yousuf Ali, Haji Lal Mohammad, Khan Bahadur Rashid Khan Chowdhury, Natore Jaminder family; Khan Bahadur Ershad Ali Khan Chowdhury and Deputy Speaker of the Bengal Legislative Council barrister Ashraf Ali Khan Choudhari was eminent. Besides that, jaminder family of Natore made their residential quarter “Choudhury Lodge” for residing about twenty poor Muslim students in college studying for a rent-free rent free accomodation and meal. Their role in the development of education in backward Muslim society was significant.

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.

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 Bandopaddhaya 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 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 because the college could not meet the requirements of the New Regulations of the Calcutta University, which came into force that year.

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 but has been re-introduced since 2010.

At present, the college offers 22 Honours courses and 21 Masters courses. It has 249 teachers, of which 56 are women. The college library is rich with many rare books, gazettes, encyclopaedias, manuscripts, and ancient puthi manuscripts. At present (13/02/2013), the library has a total of 77,949 books


AdminRajshahi College Administrative Building

The college had no building at the beginning of the college. The leaders of Rajshahi Association took the initiative to construct the college’s first building. The first building of the college (now serving as the administrative building) was constructed in 1884 (shown in the picture) at the cost of taka 67,700.00 and planned by a skilled British engineer. This 2 storied Building of Deep red color situated besides the oldest main roadway in the heart of the city representing the witness of the glory of Rajshahi. This main administrative building is a good example of British Indian colonial architecture. 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.

Other important older buildings of the colonial period include the Fuller Hostel, Biology Building, Chemistry Building, Physics Building, former Muslim Hostel etc. Newer buildings include the Library and Auditorium, an Arts building, both dating from the 1950s and a new Science building, dating from the 1990s.

In continuation of the above, dormitory, teachers’ quarters, and principal’s residence was constructed. With the changes of time five science buildings, two arts buildings, a separate building for English Department; gallery building on the west bank of the pond. The ‘Gallery building’ was built in 1888 in the name of Rajshahi Madrasah and afterward converted to Gallery No.-17. This building was constructed with the financial contribution of eminent charitable personnel Haji Muhammad Mohsin; for this the building was named “Haji Muhammad Mohsin Building”. One of the beautiful architectures is “Muslim Fuller Hostel” constructed in 1909. Presently this building is used as offices of the department of Bengali, Management, Accounting, Urdu, Sangskrit, Philosophy, Islamic History & Culture and Economics.

2 storied principal’s residence was built on east side of Hazrat Shah Makhadum (rah.)’s Mazar and north bank of Padma River. This building made of British architectural styles is still intact. Many renowned academicians lived in this building. Present principal is also residing here. Two three-storied residential buildings were constructed for teachers to the east of principal’s residence. Students’ dormitory of six blocks was built before partition and another block was constructed after partition.

Library, Laboratories, Publications and Informatics:

Library: The Institution has the distinction for its Library containing both classics and recent edition of the books, journals and periodicals and it is acclaimed internationally the reliable source for the information available from the print matters.

Laboratories: Twenty Laboratories are also equipped with vintage an up-to-date instruments for carrying out experiments.

Publications and Informatics: The college used to publish popular magazine and periodicals regularly. This has been strengthened with certain specialized and research based journals. Rajshahi college is probably the sole institutes dares to manage its all data and information digitally and has become a pioneer institute to do this job online through setting an own server station along with LAN and Broadband Leased Line connection.

Enrolled Students (From start to date)

On 1st April 1873, Rajshahi College had started its journey with only six students towards an unknown future. Gradually the college reached an admirable position by overcoming all uncertainty and obstacles. The college counted 100 in 1878, 200 in 1900, 400 in 1910, 800 in 1920 and no less than 1000 in 1924; there was only one Muslim student at the college in 1873; 5 years later it was still one, but the figure rose to 156 in 1916 and climaxed at 215 in 1924. The number of students reached about 1000 in 1930 and in the next year, the college started taking girl students.

Subsequently, of course, Muslim numbers rose in the college and after 1947 eventually exceeded the Hindu numbers. 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 and 25,000 in 2012.

Rajshahi College in the Language Movement and the Liberation War

Rajshahi College teachers and students have contributed immensely to every political and social crisis of the nation. They participated in Swadeshi andolon. In the Language Movement immediately after the killing of students in Dhaka on 21 February 1952, the teachers and students in Rajshahi College built what is often thought to be the first (but short lived) martyr monument dedicated to the Language Movement. The present monument to the Language Movement dates from 1973. It was built to replace an earlier monument, built in 1969, that was destroyed by Pakistani forces in 1971 (this is the first monument ever in the country)

The teachers and students actively participated in the 1962 and 1969 student movements. In the Bangladesh Liberation War they joined in large numbers and fought with great courage and valour.

Academics, Faculty & Alumni
Past Academics

Current Faculty

Presently the institution is belonging of 22 Professors, 57 Associate Professors, 80 Assistant Professors and 82 Lecturers. The college includes academics of prominence and promise among which quiet a numbers could be mentioned. List of present faculty is to be available in the link.

Notable Alumni

End Note

The college has been and continues to improve the quality of education, and now it continues. Student’s performance in various internal tests and final examination of University and Board shows the indicator of success and quality education. It is noted that before the establishment of Dhaka University in 1921, Rajshahi College was only the institution to offer Honours and Masters level teaching in the then East Bengal. In that period, not only students from remote areas of undivided Bengal, but also students from Assam, Bihar and Orissa used to come for study in this college. Rajshahi became very renowned in undivided India only because of Rajshahi College and ultimately establish its image of the city for education.

Geographical Location

Coordinates: 24°21’52?N 88°35’41?E

  1. www.thedailystar.net/campus/2010/03/04/feature_rajshahi…
  2. Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajshahi_College
  3. http://www.eduicon.com/Institute/?Institute_Basic_ID=4442