Maulana Azad CollegeGovt. of W.B.
Maulana Azad College

Maulana Azad College

Affiliated to the University of Calcutta
NAAC Accredited with 'A' Grade
DBT Star College with Star Status
For UG Admission 2024, please wait for Govt. / CU notification.

Distinctiveness

Multicultural

Milieu Maulana Azad College is a premier seat of learning, continuing its glorious tradition for close to a century. It is situated right at the heart of the city of Kolkata, and this central location has been instrumental in attracting students from near and far. The college is surrounded by neighbourhoods where people speak a wide array of languages, viz. Bengali, Hindi, Bhojpuri, and Urdu. This heterogeneity gets mirrored in the mixed demography of the college as well, and has been evident year after year. If one analyses its student population, one is amazed at the enormous diversity - be it in terms of language, religion, or socio-economic categorisation. It is the only co- educational government college affiliated to the University of Calcutta which offers six languages at the under-graduate level. These six language departments are the mainstay of the Arts stream in the college, and contribute significantly to the promotion of arts and culture as well. This accords the college a unique position in the educational arena of the city. The presence of these six languages - Arabic, Bengali, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu - enables the college to function as a 'language hub'. Two of these Departments, English and Urdu, have a post-graduate section as well, strengthening the linguistic heritage of this college. Students of these Departments perform well in not only University examinations but also in co- curricular and cultural activities. Professors of these Departments, both past and present, are equally engaged in academic and cultural pursuits. Along with their regular teaching, they consistently publish academic books, journal articles and book chapters. They also participate in literary festivals, book launches, mushaira [poetic symposium] and similar events. Some of these are organised by the college as well, for instance Mushaira by the Urdu Department, World Arabic Day by the Arabic Department and observing Nowruz/Navroz [Iranian New Year] by the Persian Department.

The Central Library is stocked with books in these six languages, constituting a substantial corpus. It also prides on preserving ancient and rare literary texts and manuscripts in Arabic, English, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu. These are kept not in the main section of the Central Library but in an adjacent annexe. Since these texts are extremely old, they are preserved inside glass cases to minimise the damaging effects of dust and moisture. The crowning glory of this rich heritage is a manuscript of the Ain-i-Akbari ["Administration of Akbar"], a 16th century document recording the administration of the Mughal empire under emperor Akbar, written in Persian language by his court historian Abul Fazl. Incidentally, this text constitutes the 3rd volume of the famous Akbarnama ["Account of Akbar"] written by the same writer.

The college, owing to its origins which dates to the 1920s, is the preferred choice for many students belonging to religious minority community. Lord Lytton, the then- Governor of Bengal, had laid the foundation stone of this college on 9th December 1924, and studies commenced two years later, from 1926. At that time, it was named Islamia College, and was primarily intended as an institution of higher learning for Muslim boy students who had done their schooling from various Madrassas. In keeping with this, the college building which initially constituted of the ground and first floor was designed along Indo-Saracenic lines. There are arches and jharokhas [windows projecting outwards] with lattices as well as the charbagh [four gardens] which is distinctly Islamic in style. The second floor which was added later, however, is of modern architectural design. The college also has a mosque on the ground floor for men and a prayer room on the first floor for women devotees.

The heterogeneous nature of the student and staff composition entails celebration of festivals of diverse communities with great fervour. Saraswati Puja is celebrated with a lot of fanfare every year, and students participate in worshipping the goddess of learning with much enthusiasm. A day before the Puja, they bring the idol of the goddess, decorating the area around it with alpona [designs on the floor using poster colours and flowers] as well as decor made of marble paper and kite paper. On the day of the Puja, students assemble at the college premises in large numbers, dressed in their ethnic finery, with most of them wearing shades of basanti [yellow, the colour associated with both Goddess Saraswati as also the spring season when this Puja is held]. Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated with equal zest, though a day or two before the actual date since it is a holiday. Many students as well as members of the teaching and non-teaching staff smear each other with abir [powdered colours], and both the college campus and the main staff room bear a vibrant hue. Rabindra Jayanti [birth anniversary of the poet Rabinranath Tagore] which usually falls on 8th or 9th May every year is also observed with recitation of Tagore's poetry and singing of Rabindra Sangeet [Tagore's songs]. Similarly, 'Dawat-e-Iftar' [meal breaking the daily fasting during the month of Ramzan which culminates in Eid-ul-Fitr] is organised every year, and not only Muslims but also non-Muslim students, teachers and non-teaching staff participate in it. Jashn-eEid Milad-un-Nabi, commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad, is celebrated with a programme at the Raza Washat Ali Memorial Hall (Main Hall on the ground floor of the college). Thus, the college provides a linguistically and culturally rich environment for both students and teaching staff, encouraging them to constantly pursue excellence in their chosen fields.


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