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Sanskrit College and University gets the heritage tag

West Bengal Heritage Commission has declared the 188-year-old institution as a historic structure

Kinsuk Basu | Published 23.01.22, 04:29 AM
Sanskrit College and University

Sanskrit College and University

Image courtesy: Sanskrit College and University

The West Bengal Heritage Commission has decided to declare Sanskrit College and University on Bankim Chatterjee Street a heritage structure.

In a notification declaring the 188-year-old institution as a heritage structure on January 20, the commission has sought views and objections — if any — from “local authorities, owners and lease holders” within a month.

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“We will put up a plaque declaring the property as a heritage structure after the mandatory period of wait is over. The plaque will have a brief history of the institution in two languages — English and Bengali,” painter Suvaprasanna, the chairman of the commission, told Metro.

The Sanskrit College was founded in 1824 on the recommendations of James Princep and Thomas Babington Macaulay when Lord Amherst was the Governor-General.

The college started functioning from a rented accommodation in Bowbazar for the Brahmins and Vaidyas before shifting to the permanent building in 1826.

Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, during his tenure as the principal of the institution, ushered in a series of reforms resulting in students from other castes making it to the college.

Over the years the college turned into a seat of enlightenment contributing to the Bengal Renaissance.

In 2015, the Bengal government converted the college into Sanskrit College and University.

In June 2016, the institution started functioning as a college and university. 

The West Bengal Heritage Commission Act 2001 defines a “heritage building” as a “building of one or more premises or any part thereof, which requires preservation and conservation” for historical, architectural, environmental or cultural importance.

Once declared a heritage structure, the Sanskrit College and University will join a long list of educational institutions, including the Rabindra Bharati University on BT Road, the old building of the Hindu School and the Duff College in Jorabagan.

Senior officials of the commission said apart from the Sanskrit College and University, a few sites adjoining Calcutta would also be declared as heritage sites since the mandatory period of wait had ended without any objection.

“The Mohostavtala ghat in Panihati in Sodepur and the Giribala Thakurbati in the same place, for instance, will be declared as a heritage site,” said an official.

Around 17km north of Calcutta, the Mahotsavtala ghat  is often believed to be the place where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had stopped once to have chida or flattened rice with some of his disciples.

For ages, a chida festival is organised at this ghat, which has drawn the likes of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his disciples.

In 1939 Mahatma Gandhi had visited Mohotsavtala ghat to pay his tribute to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Last updated on 23.01.22, 04:29 AM
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