It was the year 1835. The British rulers, of colonised India, took a quantum leap in the sphere of Education. They established a Medical College in Calcutta, the contemporary Indian Capital. Thus, an era of educational glory started. It was the time, when, even, The Indian Medical Service wasn’t in existence. The main motive behind the foundation was to train Indians and impart proper medical education to them so that they could look after the Europeans in India. With the blink of an eye, it gradually earned the reverence for being the most prestigious medical institution of the century. And Yes!! Presently the century-old medical foundation is known as Kolkata’s very own The Calcutta Medical College.
The Glory Undefined
There would be no prize for guessing that The Calcutta Medical College pronounces a rich historical past that reflects the colonial pride and an unparalleled chronology in medical studies. It contributed much to the rich heritage of West Bengal and witnessed some revolutionary amendments in the sphere of education, architecture, social reformation and so on.
The institution was never restricted to the purpose that the British started with. It picked up the pace and many young Indians were admitted. The official classes started after the establishment of the institution. The first class was held in an old building behind the Hindu College.
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What you see today as the structure of the medical institution underwent many changes and restoration since its establishment. The oldest building in Calcutta Medical College is the Medical College and Hospital Building. You can still see the red brick architecture from the colonial times.
The oldest Medical College in India and Its Legendary Students
The Calcutta Medical College is the first and the oldest Medical College in India as well as Asia. At first, only male students were granted admission to the college. Later, with the resolution of 1883, things changed.
On 29th June 1883, a resolution passed by the college authority. This resolution revolutionized the perception of women’s education. Addressing the gender equality, the resolution made the admission of women compulsory in Medical Study, breaking the social stigmas. And the fruits of this glorious account were the names, like Kadambini Ganguly, Virginia Mary Mitter and Bidhu Mukhi Bose.
Ganguly was the first Bengali woman to get admission for medical studies in the institution, whereas Mitter and Bose became the first Indian Women to graduate from the college after receiving scholarships. Such feat inspired and encouraged the women, for next generations, to pursue a career in medicine.
The renowned institution has seen and produced some of the finest medical graduates since long and continues to do so even today. The most notable names include U N Brahmachari, Bidhan Chandra Roy, N C Paul and many others.
Calcutta Medical College: A Name That Preceded Advancement in Medical Science
Well, superstitions didn’t allow the human dissection at that time. But, later British government made the practice of human dissection compulsory too. Madhusudan Gupta is the first person in Asia who carried out the human dissection at the college. This helped to eliminate the social stigma and broaden the mindset of other people.
David Hare, the golden cultivation of The Calcutta Medical College, founded many important institutions in Bengal. Well, the brilliance continues with Bidhan Chandra Roy, who became the first honorable chief minister of West Bengal independent India. Apart from being a noted physician at the college, Roy was a freedom fighter as well. ‘The National Doctors Day’ is celebrated on his birth as well as death day, 1st July.
Here, does not end the story. In fact, four of the students of the Medical College went to England to receive higher education with scholarships. Of them, three students came back so they could serve in their home country. One of the students, Soorjo Coomer Goodeve Chuckerbutty received the Master’s degree from the University College of London. He is also the first Indian to qualify the Indian Medical Service. He is still remembered as notable alumni and an eminent professor of the Calcutta Medical College.
The mere presence of The Calcutta Medical College speaks of the greatness and achievements it has accomplished so far. The institution helped the mass to realize the importance of medical education and with time more and more people came forward to take admission in the college.