Krishnath College - Berhampore কৃষ্ণনাথ কলেজ (Estd. November, 1853)

In pursuance of Government Educational Policy a preliminary enquiry was made at Berhampore by one of the Judges of the late Sadar Dewani Adalat to ascertain if there was a need of establishing a college at Berhampore and for finding out whether an adequate number of boys would take their admission and whether the guardians of the boys were interested in having a college here (at Berhampore). After that a college was founded in November, 1853 A.D. and it was named "Berhampore College".

It was started first in the building now known as the Main Hostel of the Krishnath College. Mr. Harrison was the Principal, who subsequently became the Principal of the Muir College, Allahabad. Mr Alfred Smith was the Headmaster, who after officiating for some time as Pincipal went to Krishnagar as Principal of that college. There was no professor then; the teachers were Mr. Fox, Mr. Guyson, Mr. Kuvaites, Mr. Gravet, Babu Haridas Ghose (বাবু হরিদাস ঘোষ), Babu Nilmani Ganguly (বাবু নীলমনি গাঙ্গুলী) and others. The last teacher was Madhu Babu better known as Madhu Master (মধু মাষ্টার).

A little after the Sonthal insurrection in 1856 the College was removed to a two-storied house (present Krishnath College School premises), which belonged to Mr. Verdon Monasagon (popularly known as Manachapkan) of Sujapore Factory, the father-in-law of magistrate Mr. James Chapman Anderson, I.C.S. This house stood on the site of the present school premises; Chapkan's building being demolished at the time of the Sepoy Mutiny the present Jail which was then the European Hospital was converted temporarily into a Fort and the College moved to Banjetia Garden House (which was later named as Old Library of Murshidabad Institute of Technology or MIT College). After that it was removed to Gorabazar, Old Civil Court, known lately as Old Circuit House, and now as Kumar Hostel (কুমার হোস্টেল). From the Circuit House the College was again removed, and the classes were accommodated in two different buildings, one the present police Constables Training-School, where the upper classes were held. The other remaining classes were held in a small building (the residential quarter of Mr. S. W. Bradbury, the Head Master) which was then situated on the south-east corner of Laldighi lake.

From these two buildings the College was again removed to the building situated in the Civil Court Compound belonging to one Mr. Purvis, Nazir (Cashier) of the then Agent's office, later occupied by Rev. Dr. Otto Stursberg. Mr. S. W. Bradbury died while, the College was in this building. Mr. Richard L. Martin joined as Head Master and the College was removed to a thatched house built on the North of the Hajut Tank on the triangular plot of land, which is the present site of the Police Club building. While the College was there in the middle of 1860, Mr. R. L. Martin, the Head Master, left as Inspector of Schools, Chotonagpur. Mr. Robert Hand came here as Principal of the College. From here Babu Radha Krishna Sen, after passing the Senior Scholarship Examination from the Berhampore College, took up his Degrees in Law and Arts from the Presidency College and entered the Provincial Judicial Service and rose to the First grade.

Mr. Hand removed the College from here to the Barrack, which is now known as the Police Line, the building just to the west of the Main Hostel. The College was here from 1860 to the middle of the year 1869.
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The foundation of the present college building was laid by Sir Cecil Beadon the then Lieutenant Governor, on Wednesday, the 29th July, 1863. The laying of the foundation stone was a grand affair. The British Artillery firing the Salute from the Koilaghat, the British Infantry as Guard of Honour took their stand on the west of the Compound by the river-side road. Elephants, Camels, Horsemen stood on the North and the new Bengal Police Constables on the South and East of the Compound and the Station Band was playing. By compound it is to be understood only the western portion of the present compound. The western portion of the land was only acquired, by paying Rs. 2,627 as compensation for the removal of the materials of the house and huts. No value for the land was paid, as it was Government Khas Mahal. The quantity of land of the western portion was only 11 Bighas 10 5/6 Kottah (4.585 Acres), but according to Khas Mahal Chittas it was 9 Bighas 19 Kottahs 10 Gandas and 3 Karas. The Eastern portion of the compound was subsequently resumed (not acquired).

The Resolution passed by the Local Committee of Public Instruction on 11th July 1863, was "The ground at present made over for the building being wholly insufficient, the Secretary be desired to request the Collector to take steps for making over more lands". The Collector moved the higher authorities and finally on the 1st September 1863 the Government by letter No. 5114 wrote to the Board thus : "With reference to orders No. 1197 of 19th April, 1856, the Lieutenant Governor authorises that the additional land required for the Berhampore College extending to the East up to the lane known as Kali Thakur Gully may be made over for that object. Of the amount of compensation fixed by the Collector at Rs. 7,526 His Honor sanctioned the payment of half, Rs. 3,763 from the fund of the Public Works; the remaining half will be defrayed from private subscriptions".

The clearance of the Eastern portion commenced from November, 1863. The building was completed in 1868 and the College was removed to this new building in June 1869 after the Summer Vacation. A law department was started in 1864, and the institution became a first grade Arts College in 1869. The erection of the building commenced under the supervision of the Executive Engineer Captain Vivian, Mr. Bolton, the Assistant Engineer and some Overseers. The nobles and the gentlemen of the District subscribed about Rs 60,000 towards the Building fund.
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Teachers of Berhampore College

The first Principal of the Institution was Mr. Harrison. Mr. Smith officiated for a short time. Then came Mr. Hand in 1860. Mr. Hand remained here as Principal till 1874. The College was then not in a good condition, although in Mr. Hand's time the College came to a flourishing state. First grade Senior and Junior Scholarships were gained by the boys. After him came Mr. Bellet; then Babu Prasanno Kumar Sarbadhikari (বাবু প্রসন্ন কুমার সর্বাধিকারি), and after him Mr. W. Livingstone. Mr. Livingstone was the last Principal of this College as a Government Institution, which it ceased to be from the year 1887.

The first Head Master was Mr. Alfred Smith, who was succeeded by Mr. S. W. Bradbury. After Mr. Bradbury's death came Mr. R. L. Martin After some months Mr. Martin left. Mr. David Carnduff, the father of the late Justice Sir W. Carnduff then came as Head Master. In the beginning of 1865 when the B.A. class (third year class) was opened for the first time, the Head Master Mr. Carnduff was made professor on a pay of Rs. 500 per month and Pundit Ramgati Nyayaratna (পন্ডিত রামগতি ন্যায়রত্ন) came here as the Sanskrit Professor on a pay of Rs. 150 per month. In the year 1865 the College had for the first time Professors. Before that there were no Professors here. Babu Mahendra Nath Mukherjee (বাবু মহেন্দ্র নাথ মুখার্জী) was in the 1st year class in 1865. Sanskrit was made a compulsory second language for the F.A. examination in November 1866. Hence the students neglected Bengali from 1865, and began to learn Devnagri.
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After Mr. David Carnduff was made Professor, Babu Bireswar Mitra (বাবু বীরেশ্বর মিএ), M.A. came here as an officiating Head Master. He was one of the six students who for the first time passed the Calcutta University M.A. Examination in Mathematics. Babu Ramanath Nandy (বাবু রমানাথ নন্দী), Babu Nobin Krishna Mukherjee (বাবু নবীন কৃষ্ণ মুখার্জী) of Uttarpara, Babu Jogeswar Mukherjee (বাবু যোগেশ্বর মুখার্জী), Dy. Inspector of Schools were of those first six M.A.'s. Bireswar Babu was transferred in the beginning of 1866 as the permanent Head Master of Krishnagar College. After Bireswar Babu came one Mr. Goode from Dacca College. Mr. Goode's services were dispensed with by Government orders. In his place came Rev. Lalbehari Dey (লালবিহারী দে), the well-known English Scholar and writer as Head Master of Berhampore College. In the year 1873 when the College was simply shaking and was threatened with abolition the Rev. Lal Behari Dey went to Hoogly College as a Professor. In the beginning of 1866 Sir Rash Behari Ghose (রাসবিহারী ঘোষ) came as a Lecturer in English on a monthly pay of Rs. 200. He remained here for a few months only and left the place in July 1866 to prepare himself for the B.L. Examination. Babu Ramanath Nandy, M.A. came to the College as a Law Lecturer on a monthly salary of Rs. 200 as well as a Lecturer in Mathematics in the B.A. class on a monthly allowance of Rs. 100 more. He arrived in the latter end of 1864 and joined the Bar. He died here in April 1866 and in June when the College reopened after the Summer Vacation the venerable Sir Gurudas Banerjee (স্যার গুরুদাশ ব্যানার্জী) came in place of Ramanath Babu. Babu Beni Madhab Dey (বাবু বেণীমাধব দে) succeeded Sir Rash Behari Ghose. Babu Beni Madhab Dey remained here up to May 1868 as a lecturer in Mathematics and then in June, 1868 Mr. Maclaren Smith came direct from England as Professor of Mathematics and Beni Babu went away as Assistant Inspector of Schools, Burdwan Division. Mr. Smith remained here up to 1872 and was then taken over to the Presidency College. No other Professor succeeded him. Babu Haridas Ghose who was then the Head Master after Rev. Lal Behari Dey, used to do the Work. The B.A. Classes were then abolished. Mr. Camduff was also transferred somewhere else and no other Professor came in his place. Pundit Ramgati Nyayaratna was also transferred to Hoogly Normal School and Pundit Madhab Chandra Tarkasidhanta (পন্ডিত মাধব চন্দ্র তর্কসিদ্ধান্ত) came in his place. Babu Haridas Ghose also being transferred to Hoogly College, Babu Nilmani Ganguly was for sometime the Head Master and with him ceased the Government Institution.

Principals of the Berhampore College :
  1. Mr. A. S. Harrison - 1853
  2. Mr. Alfred Smith (Offg.) - 1856
  3. Mr. R. L. Martin :: Head Master in charge - 1858 & 1859
  4. Mr. S. W. Bradbury - 1859
  5. Mr. Robert Hand - 1861
  6. Mr, Bellet - 1875
  7. Babu Prosonno Kumar Sarbadhikari (বাবু প্রসন্ন কুমার সর্বাধিকারি) - 1877 (Offg.)
  8. Mr. W. Livingstone - 1880
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Krishnath College

In 1886 Government decided to withdraw from the management and in 1887 the Institution ceased to be a Government one, when Maharani Swarnomoyee (মহারানী স্বর্ণময়ী), M.I.O., C.I., undertook to maintain the College. By a Government Resolution, dated the 14th May 1887, the administrative and financial control of the College was made over to the Maharani Swarnomoyee, C.I., and a Board of Trustees, vested with necessary powers, was created for managing the Institution. In 1888 it again became a first-grade college, with a law department attached. The then Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, on the occasion of the distribution of Prizes, remarked "a threatened life lives long" and he has proved to be true.

After the death of the Maharani Swarnomoyee in August 25th, 1897 her nephew and successor, the Hon'ble Maharaja Sir Manindra Chandra Nandy (মহারাজা স্যার মনীন্দ্র চন্দ্র নন্দী) of Cossimbazar, financed the College. In 1905, the College was handed over by Government to the Hon'ble Maharaja Sir Manindra Chandra Nandy, K.C.I.E. (who succeeded to the Cossimbazar Raj Estate) by a Deed of Transfer with a Board of Management consisting. of the Hon'ble Maharaja Sir Manindra Chandra Nandy, K.C.I.E. as President, the District Judge, the District Magistrate and the Inspector of Schools, Presidency Division and Rai Baikuntha Nath Sen Bahadur (রায় বৈকুন্ঠ নাথ সেন বাহাদুর), as Ex-officio members.

In accordance with the University Regulations a separate building at a cost of one lac and thirtyfive thousand has been constructed by the Hon'ble Maharaja. The College building has been enlarged at considerable expense by the Hon'ble Maharaja to afford accommodation for about twelve hundred students, who annually got their education in the College, and the College has been named "Krishnath College" in 1902, to preserve the memory of Manindra Chandra Nandy's maternal uncle Raja Krishnath Roy (রাজা কৃষ্ণনাথ রায়) of Cossimbazar, the husband of Maharani Swarnomoyee, who died in 1844.

A separate section for women was introduced in year 1939. The women's and the men's sections were merged in 1945. The college came under the purview of the University of Kalyani in 1999. (In 1982 the education commission headed by Professor Bhabatosh Dutta recommended university status for the college. But it was rejected on the ground that the college did not have the proper infrastructure.)

Principals of Krishnath College :
  1. Babu Brojendra Nath Seal (বাবু ব্রজেন্দ্রনাথ শীল), M.A., Ph.D. - 1887
  2. Babu Janoki Nath Bhattacherjee (বাবু জানকী নাথ ভট্টাচার্য), M.A. - 1896
  3. Babu Ambica Charan Mitter (বাবু অম্বিকা চরন মিএ), M.A. - 1897
  4. Mr. E. A. Murphy - 1900
  5. Rev. E.M. Wheeler, M.A. - 1906
  6. Babu Soshi Shekhar Banerjee (বাবু শশীশেখর ব্যানার্জী), (Offg.) - 1918
  7. Mr. C.J. Hamilton, M.A. - 1919
  8. Mr. H.G. Leather, M.A. - 1920
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Krishnath College once attracted students from neighboring states and also from the rest of India. Luminaries like E. M. Wheeler, Acharya Brajendranath Sil have served as faculty. Not only was Krishnath College a beacon in the field of education, its contribution to the Indian freedom struggle is also notable. 'Mastarda' (মাষ্টার দা) Surya Sen, Sahid Nalini Bagchi were inspired to join the freedom movement during their stint as students in Krishnath College. Many of the students from the college have made contributions to various social, cultural and political movements both before and after Independence. The University of Calcutta is also indebted to Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandy. Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee requested the authority of the University of Calcutta to hire many valuable apparatuses, from Krishnath College, required for the newly built Science College at Calcutta in 1915 AD. That is why it is apt to comment that Krishnath College, Berhampore is the father of the University of Calcutta.


External References :
  • A history of Murshidabad District (Bengal) (1902) - By John Henry Tull
  • University of Calcutta The Calendar for the Year 1890
  • Bengal District Gazetteers, Murshidabad - By Lewis Sydney Steward O'Malley (1914)
  • Bengal and Assam, Behar and Orissa Their history, people, commerce and industrial resources - By Somerset Playne (1917)
  • The golden book of India - By Sir Lethbridge, Roper 1840-1919
  • The official site of Krishnath College :

Page Updated : May 08, 2012 07:19 am