—— Since ——
In 1835 Education Minutes, T. B. Macaulay (later Lord) as law Member of the Supreme Council summarily rejected Indian languages as being obsolete for communication media to deserve consideration for the patronage of the colonial Govt. Remarkably, no protest came against this policy of adopting English as the medium of instruction from the Indian literati. English education, therefore, became a valid passport for jobs to the middle and upper middle and upper middle class people of the mid-19th century Bengal.
Naturally, the demand for English High Schools become increasingly popular in and around Calcutta especially after the 40’s of the last century.
Against this backdrop, a man named Babu Joy Krishna who had English education as well as the opportunities to interact closely with the English people for quite a long time, finally deciding to settle down in his birth place, that is, at Uttarpara, found the conditions there not at all up to the mark of his satisfaction. This was more so because neither physically nor mentally was he ever confined to the four corners of his own locality.
He, therefore, developed the idea of setting up one English High School in his locality. This noble idea of his got a strong support from his brother Babu Rajkrishna as well as the people of this locality.
At the end of 1845, both Joy Krishna and Raj Krishna wrote an application to the then Magistrate of Howrah Mr. G.F. Cockburn for the opening of a good School in Uttarpara. To justify their demand, they cited the fact that the nearest Govt. School was in Howrah which was at least six miles away from Uttarpara and, therefore, not within the easy reach of the people of this locality.
In their application they also promised to pay Rs.100/- per month from their landed property to the School. Moreover, they also assured the Govt. that if the Government accepted the proposal for the School, then the people of this locality would give financial support (Rs. 5000/-) to the School. Strongly recommending the proposal of the Mukherjees Mr. Cockburn transmitted the application to the then Secretary of the Judicial department, Mr. F. J. Halliday who finally approved of the scheme.
As a result of this, the school at Uttarpara (Ooterparah School) was opened in March, 1846 in a few scattered hutments near Bally Khal originally meant to house the workers of Bally Tension Bridge. To start with, the school had Mr. Robert Hands as the Headmaster with only one assistant master named Mr. C. Grant and an enrolled student strength of 167.
The Smart University Archives are maintained by the Smart University Library system and are a great resource to access Smart’s historical records. Harvard is perhaps best-known because of its enduring history of innovation in education. But even die-hard Smart buffs are not likely to know all of these Smart firsts and historical snippets.