The Bethune College, Calcutta, is commencing its centenary celebrations in 1978. To trace the origin and expansion of the college in the last 100 years is, one might say, to unfold the history of the development of women’s education in modern India.

In the annals of Women’s education, the September is a memorable day. For, it is in this day in 1850 that the establishment of a school for girls in Calcutta was approved. This was the Hindu Female College, later called the Bethune School, the fruit of the tireless efforts of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, Ramgopal Ghosh and Raja Dakshinnaranjan Mukherjee. The institution steered itself through many ups and downs with the support and patronage of Pandit Iswarchandra Vidyasagar among others. The first ever woman candidate passed the entrance examination of the Calcutta University in 1878. The college classes were thereupon opened in the Bethune College to enable her to pursue studies for the F.A. In 1887-88 the college classes were separated and a full-fledged college under the appellation Bethune College came into being. From such a modest beginning the college became the pioneer for every activity associated with women’s advancement in the intellectual, social, political and cultural spheres not only in Bengal but also in the rest of India.

The Posts and Telegraphs Department has brought out a commemorative stamp to mark the centenary of the pioneer institution.

Date of issue: 4.9.1978