Situated at 294 APC Roy Road, Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya, a girls’ school in Calcutta, was founded on 16th May 1890, by Shivnath Shastri on behalf of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj. Originally, the School was opened at 13 Cornwallis Street. However, in 1903 a plot of land along with a house was purchased on Upper Circular Road and the School shifted there.
Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya was a product of the Bengal Renaissance. A group of Enlightened Bengali gentlemen like Pandit Shivnath Shastri, Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury, Dwarakanath Gangopadhyay, Anandamohan Basu and others were keen to spread education among the women. They believed that, Indian women desperately need to be educated for their social awareness and to acquire the ability to voice their protest against the social injustice. Dwarkanath Ganguli also felt that, merely formal education is not sufficient for the girls. To become ideal mothers of the future citizens of India, they should also learn home science, hygiene, medicine, cookery etc.
Parents in those days were reluctant to send their daughters to school. They did not want their daughters to be influenced by the ‘Firingi culture’. But the objective of Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya was to give intellectual training to its students based upon religious and moral instruction. Hence the motto as engraved with the emblem of this Shikshalaya – Shraddhya, Tapasya, Sevaya – which means Respect, Persevarence and Service.
Lady Abala Bose, wife of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, was the secretary of the school from 1910-1936. Her tactical ability to manage an organization, along with foresight and enthusiasm transformed the school into a top ranking institution at that time. She was instrumental in constructing the Durgamohan Bhavan in 1916. In 1928, the old house was also remodeled as a girl’s hostel and renamed Ananda Mohan Bhavan. She stressed the necessity of physical fitness and included Ju-Jitsu, fighting with long bamboo sticks and daggers, tennis, basketball and other events as part of the extra curricular activities.
Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya, the second girls’ school in Calcutta, has completed its centenary on 16th May 1990. It may be mentioned here that, the first girls’ school in Calcutta was founded by Drinkwater Bethune.