Presidency College in News For Wrong Reason

I was in Presidency College, Calcutta only for two years1955-57 prior to joining IIT, Kharagpur. I did my Intermediate in Science (I.Sc) from Presidency College. That was the best college for I.Sc of Calcutta University in those days. But soon after, higher secondary examination started replacing I.Sc.

I lived in (Eden) Hindu Hostel for those two years, and we had seniors of graduate courses too in the hostel. There was no ragging but we had very intimate relations with senior students. They were very helpful too without any ego. Academic careers of some were just outstanding. It used to be the subject matter of our ‘adda’ (Bangla word for group gossip) those days. There were some who topped both in school final as well as I.Sc examinations, and kept the same performance in honours courses too. Presidency College used to offer only Honours courses in arts, and science subjects. And in most of the honours courses, a student from Presidency used to top the list in Calcutta University those days. So Presidency became a brand almost same as IIT is today.

And then I get this news that is unprecedented in the history of the Presidency College. “Eight of its 24 philosophy (honours) students have failed in their part-I examination.” I am amazed and shocked. What would have been the reasons for such an unthinkable thing to happen?

The college principal as well as the head of the philosophy department is shocked and extremely upset, “We are shocked. It’s such a disaster, it’s never happened in the past.” “The performance of our philosophy students has really put us to shame.”

I am reminded of Prof Amiya Kumar Mazumdar of the department of philosophy who used to be the superintendent of Hindu Hostel in those days. Prof. Mazumdar used to be a wonderful speaker on his subject. I later on had heard that Prof Mazumdar was transferred to Hooghly Mohsin College as principal. I had a chance to hear him too in some Rotary International function in HM days.

Leftists after coming in power started interfering with the educational institutes too. Presidency College has historical significance in the history of West Bengal. It produced the best of Bengal’s intelligentsias. Till late there was an immense respect for any one with education at Presidency. I am sure these students must be unique to decide to have a un-Presidency like performance.

But I have still not heard if Presidency could get the autonomous status by the university grant Commission. It would have happened year ago if leftists would not have been blocking it. How can the education attain world class if it is so politicised?

Will Buddha babu look into this mishap seriously or is he too busy with the industrialists?<

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