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Scottish Church College

Scottish Church College
Image of the campus
The campus
Motto Nec Tamen Consumebatur[1] (Latin)
Motto in English
"Burning, but yet not consumed"
Established 1830: General Assembly's Institution
1843: Free Church Institution
1863: Duff College
1908: Scottish Churches College
1929: Scottish Church College
Type Government-aided Christian liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
Church of North India
Academic affiliation
University of Calcutta
Rector Dr. John Abraham (Ex-Principal)
Students 2,000

Kolkata, West Bengal, India
22°32′54″N 88°21′21″E / 22.54837°N 88.35596°E / 22.54837; 88.35596Coordinates: 22°32′54″N 88°21′21″E / 22.54837°N 88.35596°E / 22.54837; 88.35596{{#coordinates:22.54837|88.35596|type:edu_source:Googlemaps|||||| |primary |name=

Campus Urban
Athletics Track and field
Sports Badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, and volleyball
Nickname Template:If empty
File:Scottish Church College.jpg

Scottish Church College is the oldest continuously running Christian liberal arts and sciences college in India.[2][3] Being a premier seat of higher education in West Bengal, the college has been consistently highly rated by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, an autonomous organization that evaluates academic institutions in India. The college also enjoys the status of College with Potential for Excellence, a quality rating by the University Grants Commission. It is affiliated with the University of Calcutta for degree courses for graduates and postgraduates. Scottish Church College is a selective co-educational institution, which is better known for its academic standards, and its intellectual milieu. Students and alumni call themselves "Caledonians" in the name of the college festival, "Caledonia".

The college will become the fifth institution under Calcutta University and the second Christian minority college to have been awarded an autonomous status.

The founder and institutional origins

Principals of General Assembly's Institution (1830–1908)
Principal of Free Church Institution (1843–63)
Principals of Duff College (1863–1908)
Principals of Scottish Churches College (1908–1929)
Principals of Scottish Church College (1929–present)

The foundation

The institutional origins are traceable to the life of Alexander Duff (1806–1878), the first overseas missionary of the Church of Scotland, to India. Known initially as the General Assembly's Institution, it was founded on 13 July 1830.[4]
Alexander Duff
Alexander Duff was born on 25 April 1806, in Moulin, Perthshire, located in the Scottish countryside. He attended the University of St Andrews where after graduation, he opted for a missionary life.[4] Subsequently, he undertook his evangelical mission to India. In a voyage that involved two shipwrecks (first on the ship Lady Holland off Dassen Island, near Cape Town, and later on the ship Moira, near the Ganges delta) and the loss of his personal library consisting of 800 volumes (of which 40 survived), and college prizes, he arrived in Calcutta on 27 May 1830.[5][6]

Feringhi Kamal Bose

Initially supported by the Governor-General of India Lord William Bentinck,[5] Rev. Alexander Duff opened his institution in Feringhi Kamal Bose's house, located in upper Chitpore Road, near Jorasanko. In 1836 the institution was moved to Gorachand Bysack's house at Garanhatta.[4] Mr. MacFarlon, the Chief-Magistrate of Calcutta, laid the foundation stone on 23 February 1837. Mr. John Gray, elected by Messrs. Burn & Co. and superintended by Captain John Thomson of the East India Company designed the building. It is possible that he may have been inspired by the facade of the Holy House of Mercy in Macau, which reflects the influence of Portuguese Renaissance and Mannerist and colonial architecture. Traces of English Palladianism are also evident in the design of the college. The construction of the building was completed in 1839.[4]

Historical context

In the early 1800s, under the regime of the East India Company, English education and Missionary activities were initially suspect.[4] While the East India Company supported Orientalist instruction in the vernacular languages like Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit, and helped to establish institutions like Calcutta Madrasah College, and Sanskrit College, in general, colonial administrative policy discouraged the dissemination of knowledge in their language, that is in English. The general apathy of the Company towards the cause of education and improvement of natives is in many ways, the background for the agency of missionaries like Duff.[7]

Inspired by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Reverend Alexander Duff, then a young missionary, arrived in India's colonial capital to set up an English-medium institution. Though Bengalis had shown some interest in the spread of Western education from the beginning of the 19th century, both the local church and government officers were skeptical about the high-caste Bengali's response to the idea of an English-medium institution.[4] While Orientalists like James Prinsep were supportive of the idea of vernacular education, Duff and prominent Indians like Raja Rammohun Roy supported the use of English as a medium of instruction.[4] His emphasis on the use of English on Indian soil was prophetic:

Raja Ram Mohan Roy helped Duff by organizing the venue and bringing in the first batch of students. He also assured the guardians that reading the King James's Bible did not necessarily imply religious conversion, unless that was based on inner spiritual conviction. Imbibing the tenets of the Scottish educational system that shaped his ideals, Duff was, unlike the missionaries and scholars at the Serampore College, wholeheartedly committed to the cause of instruction in the English language, as that facilitated the advanced study of European religion, literature and science. By carefully selecting teachers, European and Indian, who brought out the best of Christian and secular understandings, and by emphasizing advanced pedagogical techniques that emphasized the Socratic method of classroom debate, inquiry, and rational thinking, Duff and his followers established an educational system, whose impact in spreading progressive values in contemporary Bengal would be profound.[9] Although his ultimate aim was the spread of English education, Duff was aware that a foreign language could not be mastered without command of the native language. Hence in his General Assembly's Institution (as later in his Free Church Institution), teaching and learning in the dominant vernacular Bengali language was also emphasized. Duff and his successors also underscored the necessity of sports among his students.[10] Interestingly, when he introduced political economy as a subject in the curricula, his faced his church's criticism.
File:Ram Mohan Roy statue.jpeg
The great social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy supported Reverend Duff in his efforts

In 1840, Duff returned to India. At the Disruption of 1843, Duff sided with the Free Church. He gave up the college buildings, with all their effects and established a new institution, called the Free Church Institution.[5] He had the support of Sir James Outram and Sir Henry Lawrence, and the encouragement of seeing a new band of converts, including several young men born of high caste. In 1844, governor-general Viscount Hardinge opened government appointments to all who had studied in institutions similar to Duff's institution. In the same year, Duff co-founded the Calcutta Review, of which he served as editor from 1845 to 1849. In 1857, when the University of Calcutta was established, the Free Church Institution was one of its earliest affiliates, and Duff would also serve in the university's first senate.[11] These two institutions founded by Duff, i.e., the General Assembly's Institution and the Free Church Institution would be merged later to form the Scottish Churches College. After the unification of the Church of Scotland in 1929, the institution would be known as Scottish Church College.[4]

Along with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the great social reformer often called the father of modern India, Dr. Duff supported Lord Macaulay in drafting his influential Minute for the introduction of English education in India. Eminent contemporary and successive missionary scholars from Scotland, notably Dr. Ogilvie, Dr. Hastie,[12] Dr. Macdonald, Dr. Stephen, Dr. Watt, Dr. Urquhart contributed in spreading liberal Western education. The institutions founded by Duff have been coterminous with other contemporary institutions like the Serampore College, and the Hindu College in ushering the spirit of intellectual inquiry and a general acceptance of the ideals of the Enlightenment among Bengali Hindus, the then dominant indigenous ethno-linguistic group in the Company administered Indian territories. This exchange of ideas and ideals, and adoption of progressive values that would eventually influence many social reform movements in South Asia, has been widely regarded by historians specializing in nineteenth century India, as the epochs of the Young Bengal Movement and later, the Bengal Renaissance.[13]

Duff's contemporaries included Reverend Mackay, Reverend Ewart and Reverend Thomas Smith. Till the early 20th century the norm was to bring teachers from Scotland, and this brought forth scholars like William Spence Urquhart, Henry Stephen, H.M. Percival etc. Indian scholars were also engaged as teachers by the college authorities, and the notable faculty includes names like Surendranath Banerjea, Kalicharan Bandyopadhyay, Jnan Chandra Ghosh, Gouri Shankar Dey, Adhar Chandra Mukhopadhyay, Sushil Chandra Dutta, Mohimohan Basu, Sudhir Kumar Dasgupta, Nirmal Chandra Bhattacharya, Bholanath Mukhopadhyay and Kalidas Nag, all of whom had all contributed to enhancing the academic standards of the college.[13]

The college authorities played a pioneering role in promoting gender equality by emphasizing the significance of women's education. During much of the nineteenth century, the college remained the only institution of its kind in the city of Calcutta (and indeed in the country) to facilitate and actively promote the cause of co-education.[5][14] Female students comprise half the present roll strength of the college. With the added interest of the missionaries in educational work and social welfare, the college stands as a monument to Indo-Scottish co-operation. The aims of the college are those of its founder namely, the formation of character through education based on Christian teaching.

Departments and programmes

Undergraduate programmes

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Department of Bengali Department of Business Administration Department of Commerce Department of Botany
Department of English Department of Chemistry
Department of History Department of Computer Science
Department of Philosophy Department of Economics
Department of Political Science Department of Mathematics
Department of Sanskrit Department of Microbiology
Department of Physics
Department of Zoology

Postgraduate programmes

  • Bachelor of Education (postgraduate course for women students, offered by the Department of Teacher Education)
  • Master of Science in Chemistry (autonomous course, offered by the postgraduate section of the Department of Chemistry)
  • Master of Science in Botany (autonomous course, offered by the postgraduate section of the Department of Botany)

Campus and infrastructure


The college sits on an area of six acres. It operates in seven buildings and two campuses. The main campus consists of the main building, which is among others, one of the oldest masonry pieces in the city of Kolkata and an example of colonial architecture. This has been declared a 'Heritage Building' by the statutory body constituted by the Government of West Bengal and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. It includes the college Assembly Hall and the air-conditioned seminar room used by the departments for holding extension lectures and seminars. The main building houses the economics, history, political science, philosophy, zoology, botany, mathematics, English, Sanskrit and Bengali departments. A separate Science annex building houses the departments of physics and chemistry. Situated in the main campus, the central library of the college is well-equipped and fully computerized. The biological science departments are in possession of a museum and a ‘poly-house’. The college is encompassed by a garden and a lawn. Many medicinal plants are grown in this garden under the care of the botany department. There are rare and non-native plants in this garden as well. The Scottish Church College campus is a ‘green’ campus with solar lighting.[15]

The second campus houses the Millennium Building and the Department of Teacher Education. The college auditorium, called the M.L. Bhaumik Auditorium, is fully air-conditioned and is located in the Millennium Building. It is named after Dr. Mani Lal Bhaumik, laser scientist and a renowned alumnus of the college. The cultural activities, special programmes, and students’extension activities are held here. The Millennium Building houses the departments of microbiology, computer science and business administration. The commerce classes, held in the morning batch of the college, are present in the Millennium Building. A separate building houses the department of teacher education.[15]

Track and field

The college playground is situated about a kilometer away from the college. It has a full length football field and two other medium-sized football grounds. A running track surrounds the field. A two storied permanent pavilion (‘Watt Pavilion’) stands there, with separate changing rooms for boys and girls, toilets and a store-room. The teacher-in-charge of physical education is provided residential accommodation in a part of the pavilion. Separate common rooms for male and female students, equipped with indoor game facilities like table tennis are available in the campus.[15]

Halls of residence

The college has five hostels for its students, all of which are situated near the college. They have fully functional recreational common rooms with audio-visual equipment.

  • Lady Jane Dundas Hostel (for female students)
  • Students' Residence (for female students)
  • Duff Hostel
  • Wann Hostel
  • Ogilvie Hostel[15]

College publications

The college publications are annual and consists of contributions from students and staffs.

  • The Scottish Church College Magazine is published annually with contributions from past and present staff and students.
  • The Scottish Herald is the college newsletter and is published annually.
  • The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, a refereed international academic journal with an interdisciplinary approach which publishes research articles written by both experienced and young scholars all over the world, is annually published by the college. The journal discusses issues from various points of view, such as liberalism, empiricism, positivism, Marxism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, deconstruction, feminism, subaltern studies school and postcolonialism. The advisory board consists of noted personalities such as Amartya Sen, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Partha Chatterjee, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Amiya Kumar Bagchi among others.[13][16]

Activity clubs and extension activities

The NSS unit

The college is successfully running the National Service Scheme programme under the University of Calcutta for the last three years. During 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 NSS has undertaken various regular activities, and has organized two special camps. The Scottish Church College NSS unit has adopted the Dewanji Bagan slum area of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, adjacent to the college play ground, and has focused its activities in that area. Currently the NSS unit has 100 student volunteers, one programme officer, and 10 other teachers involved with the NSS activities. Every year 50 students participate in the NSS special camp. Apart from the NSS, nine faculty members of various departments are associated with different NGOs in their individual capacities. Besides, four faculty members and three library staff are involved with social work at an informal level in their neighbourhood. Often declared as one of the best in the whole University, the NSS Unit of the Scottish Church College participated in several programmes organised by the University of Calcutta during these years. The NSS Unit organised several environment/health/hygiene-related programmes in the college in collaboration with the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia and the college's department of teacher education.[17]

Activity clubs and societies

The Scottish Church College has several active clubs and societies wherein students join and participate in intra-college or inter-college competitions, that help students to nurture talent. The students' union and the college authorities are involved in giving shape to these activity clubs.

  • The Debating Society
  • The Literary Society
  • The Nature Study and Photography Club
  • The Budding Painters' Club
  • The Western and Indian Music Club
  • The Dance and Drama Club

The Scottish Church College Annual Activity Day is organized by the college authorities annually, an event in which students from all departments gather to showcase their talents and develop as better performers.

Sports and festivals

Annual sports

The college conducts the sports day in the month of December every year, in the college playground. The best athletes and sportsmen from the college gather here. They compete each other in healthy sportsmanship spirits in various track and field events. The intra-college football and cricket tournaments are held during these two days. The students even participate in other inter-college athletic meets and sports meets throughout the year. The students of the college are regulars at the sports events organized by government colleges. The college authorities support initiatives to push students who are good athletes and sportsmen to a broader front, such as a district level or a national level sports and athletic meet.


CALEDONIA is a four-days long cultural fest organized by the Scottish Church College. Held annually, Caledonia is one of the largest and longest running festivals in Kolkata. It serves as a great attraction for students from different colleges. Caledonia invites other colleges from all over the city to participate in events like dancing, band performance, quizzes (the Chao Quiz being a major attraction) and a photography competition called Shutter Bugs. Caledonia does not confine itself to the four walls of the college campus, but goes out into the open by holding few of its on-stage events in Urquhart Square, outside the college. The fest is organized by the college authorities.

Students' union

The students’ union is the representative organization of the students. The main body of the students’ union is formed by election of class representatives. The office-bearers are chosen by these members. The president and the general secretary of the students’ union are the main representatives of the students, and they are also members of the College Senatus. The students’ union plays a constructive role in the general activities of the college and coordinates them in the campuses. It organizes cultural programmes like freshers’ welcome, Caledonia and the Annual Social. The students' union organizes annual blood donation camps, social service related activities and recreational activities for the students.

Alumni association

The alumni association of the college is called the Scottish Church College Former Students' Association. Its primary objective is to keep the former students in touch with each other, and maintain links with the college. The association organizes reunion meetings and social gatherings to strengthen the spirit of friendship, service and cooperation among fellow Caledonians. Departments organize their reunion meetings either bi-annually or annually in the college campus.

Current status and recent initiatives

  • Until 1953, administrative control over the college was exercised by the Foreign Mission Committee of the Church of Scotland. This was exercised by a local council consisting of representatives of the Church of Scotland and the United Church of Northern India. Later the Foreign Mission Committee of Church of Scotland relinquished its authority to the United Church of Northern India, and in 1970, the United Church of Northern India joined the Church of North India as a constituent body. This made the Church of North India the de facto and de jure successor (to the Church of Scotland) in running the administration of the college. As the college was founded on Christian (Protestant and Presbyterian) foundations, it derives its legal authority and status as a religious minority institution as defined by the scope of Article 30 of the Constitution of India.[4]
  • On 27 September 1980, the Indian Postal Service released a commemorative stamp on the college keeping in view its historical, cultural, and scientific heritage.[16][18]
  • In 2003, the college buildings and premises underwent renovation, with the financial support of the alumni and well-wishers.[16][19]
  • In 2004, the general section of the college was awarded grade 'A' after accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.[20] The same grade was awarded upon re-accreditation in 2014.
  • Since 2004, the college has been a member of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia and is a participant in that organization's Asian University Leadership Program.[4][21][22]
  • In 2006, the University Grants Commission (India) accepted the recommendations of the University of Calcutta to regard the college as College with Potential for Excellence.[4][23][24]
  • In 2011, the Scottish Government instituted a Centre of Tagore Studies in Edinburgh's Napier University, to facilitate integrated research on Rabindranath Tagore's works and philosophy. In Calcutta, this scholarly initiative (with student exchange programs) was extended to the college, involving the departments of English, Bengali and philosophy.[17][25][26]
  • The University Grants Commission is sponsoring the construction of the Quarto Sept Centennial Jubilee Building project of the college. The building plan has been approved by the Heritage Committee of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation for necessary approval. The construction of the new building will be started very soon.[27]
  • In January 2014, the NAAC re-accredited the General Section of the college with Grade 'A' (meaning "Very Good") in January. The Teacher Education Section was reaccredited with Grade 'B' (meaning "Good").
  • The College has been awarded the status of College with Potential for Excellence for a third time and is valid for the period April 2015 to March 2020.
  • By 2017, the College is to become an autonomous institute, as collectively legislated by the Church of North India, the University of Calcutta and the University Grants Commission (India). It will be the fifth institute to be awarded the autonomous status under the University of Calcutta.

Scottish Church College in popular culture

In fiction

  • Satyajit Ray's fictional scientist-cum-investigator Professor Shonku started his career as a professor of physics at the Scottish Church College.
  • Satyajit Ray's fictional private investigator Feluda was a student of the Scottish Church College.

In cinema

Notable alumni

Scottish Church College has produced and provided numerous noted personalities throughout these hundred and eighty five years. The Caledonians range from social activists to noted scientists and renowned academicians and administrators.

Social reformers and religious leaders

Independence activists and politicians


Scholars and academic administrators

Performing arts, theater and cinema

Writers, poets and journalists

Administrators and industrialists


See also


  1. ^ Saint Columba's main doorway
  2. ^ Basu, Pradip. The Question of Colonial Modernity and Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. p.35.
  3. ^ Matilal, Anup. The Scottish Church College: A Brief Discourse on the Origins of an Institution in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. pp.19-20.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sen, Asit and John Abraham. Glimpses of college history, 2008 (1980). Retrieved on 3-10-2009
  5. ^ a b c d Pitlochry Church of Scotland's obituary of Alexander Duff
  6. ^ The missionary’s mission in Calcutta
  7. ^ Matilal, p. 17.
  8. ^ Basu, pp. 33-4.
  9. ^ Sardella, Ferdinando. Rise of Nondualism in Bengal in Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Thought and Life of Bhaktisiddhanta. Oxford University Press, 2013. pp. 39-40.
  10. ^ Bandyopadhyay, Kausik. Games Ethic in Bengal: A Commentary on the sporting tradition of the Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. pp. 74-5.
  11. ^ A Tradition of Notable Firsts
  12. ^ Master visionary
  13. ^ a b c Basu, p. 35.
  14. ^ Manna, Mausumi, Women's Education through Co-Education: the Pioneering College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008, page 107-116
  15. ^ a b c d Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
  16. ^ a b c Photo Gallery pp. 559-61.
  17. ^ a b Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
  18. ^ Postage stamp on Scottish Church College, Calcutta
  19. ^ Abraham, John. A Foreword in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. p.4.
  20. ^ Abraham, p.6.
  21. ^ United Board Partner Institutions
  22. ^ Abraham, p.8.
  23. ^ Star tag on six colleges
  24. ^ Half in, half out in college tag race
  25. ^ Tagore drew inspiration from Scottish bard for his poem - article in the Times of India
  26. ^ Glasgow tie-up for CU - article in the Calcutta Telegraph
  27. ^ The College Annual Day 2012-13
  28. ^ Sahitya Akademi Awards 1955-2007
  29. ^ Article in The Telegraph on the film Kaalbela
  30. ^ The death anniversary of Indian Football's first legend
  31. ^ Football scores at the box office in cricket-mad India
  32. ^ From the Brahmo Samaj website
  33. ^ "Mitra, Krishna Kumar (1852-1936)". Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  34. ^ Entertainment Homepage
  35. ^ International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  36. ^ Reflections around Swami Gambhirananda
  37. ^ Bisheshwor Prasad Koirala
  38. ^ Gopinath Bordoloi
  39. ^ 'Big cities have big problems'
  40. ^ B L Joshi sworn-in as new Meghalaya Governor
  41. ^ Panja, Ajit Kumar
  42. ^ Justice Amal Kumar Sarkar
  43. ^ Justice Subimal Chandra Roy
  44. ^ Justice Amarendra Nath Sen
  45. ^ Justice Anandamoy Bhattacharjee
  46. ^ Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.N. Ray
  47. ^ Justice Umesh Chandra Banerjee
  48. ^ Seal, (Acharya) Brajendra Nath
  49. ^ AnthroSource: Error
  50. ^ "Guha family wiki". Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  51. ^ Nirmal Kumar Bose - Scholar wanderer
  52. ^ Chanda, Ramaprasad
  53. ^ Chemistry alumni, Scottish Church College
  54. ^ BANGLAPEDIA: Bhaduri, Shishir Kumar
  55. ^ Padmabhusan Manna
  56. ^ A Cultural Colossus
  57. ^ Chasing the Truth: The Films of Mrinal Sen
  58. ^ Sen, Mrinal
  59. ^ Merchant of Dreams
  60. ^ "Eminent theatre actor Shyamanand Jalan dead". The Times of India. 25 May 2010. 
  61. ^ Mustard memories
  62. ^ Campus Buzz
  63. ^ A tale of two cities
  64. ^ Vita of Nirad Chaudhuri
  65. ^ Dutta, Satyendranath
  66. ^ Dutta, Sudhindranath
  67. ^ Sudhindranath Dutta (1901 - 1960)
  68. ^ Parvati Prasad Baruva
  69. ^ "People's poet of Bengal-Subhas Mukhopadhyay" By Dr Ashok K Choudhury
  70. ^ Bani Basu
  71. ^ Stranger than fiction
  72. ^ Meenakshi Mukherjee: Bani Basu's Novels
  73. ^ Gallerie
  74. ^ Mustafa Monwar: A legend of our times
  75. ^ Jagmohan Dalmiya: Cricket's face of change
  76. ^ Code Name Success
  77. ^ Photo News
  78. ^ Adventure of knowledge - Evelyn Norah Shullai
  79. ^ Gourgopal Ghosh (1893-1940)
  80. ^ (fitnessNEPAL/History)
  81. ^ "Encounter with a martyr’s daughter" By Sudha Shrestha
  82. ^ 'Unexpected' finish by Surya Sekhar
  83. ^ Ganguly, Surya Shekhar
  84. ^ Indian National Championship won by Surya Ganguly

External links