INSTITUTIONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA - The Medical College and Hospital
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INSTITUTIONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN COLONIAL CALCUTTA – The Medical College and Hospital

Calcutta Medical College in 1910

The Native Medical Institution was established by the ruling British in Calcutta on  the 21st day of June 1822, with the aim to fill the position of native doctors in the civil and military establishments of the Presidency of Bengal and to impart medical teaching in the vernacular. Trainee medical students had to attend different hospitals and dispensaries. After training, the successful native doctors were readily absorbed into government jobs. Towards the end of 1833, the government of William Bentinck appointed a Committee to study and produce a report regarding the prevailing state of medical education in Bengal. The Committee in their turn, criticized the medical education imparted at the NMI, for the inept way and improper nature of  training, the unprofessional examination system, as well as the complete  absence of practical anatomy courses. The Committee recommended that the state should establish a medical college for the education of the natives and the various branches of medical science cultivated in Europe should also be taught in the proposed college. As a result, the National Medical Institution was abolished and a new college, known as the Medical College, was established by an order of 28 January 1835, which opened a new chapter in the history of medical education in India. With the process of admission of students, the College started its activities on 20th February 1835. Initially the classes started in an old house at the rear of the Hindu College, however, in May 1835, new premises were built on a plot of land donated by Mutty Lal Seal.

Calcutta Medical College - Old Picture
Calcutta Medical College – Old Picture

The Medical College and Hospital Building is the oldest building in the Medical College campus and is a landmark in the city of Calcutta. The foundation stone of the building was laid by the Marquis of Dalhousie, the then Governor General of India, on 30th September 1848, and was opened on the 1st day of March 1852.

With the foundation of the University of Calcutta in 1857 and its faculty of medicine for the award of medical degrees, the courses of medical study were revised accordingly. The University conferred three medical degrees, Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (LMS), Bachelor of Medicine (MB), and Doctor of Medicine (MD).

In 1838, a large female indoor hospital started functioning as the Mutty Lall Seal Ward, in recognition of his donation of the extensive tract of land for the foundation of the Calcutta Medical College. This was followed by the opening of a large hospital in 1853, designed to accommodate about three hundred fifty patients at a time. Other hospitals were started to open one by one, which included the Eden Hospital (1881-1882), the Ezra Hospital (1887), the Shama Charan Laha Eye Hospital (1891) and the Prince of Wales Surgical Block opened in March 1911.

Kadambini Ganguly, one of the first two female graduates of India, was eager to study medicine. To make her dream come true, CMC took a significant step to pass a special resolution on 29th June 1883 and allowed the admission of women into the CMC. In the process,   Kadambini became one of the two Indian women doctors who was qualified to practice western medicine. It seems to be worth to mention here that, in 1888 Kadambini was appointed to the Lady Dufferin Women’s Hospital on a salary of Rs 300 per month.

Another important change occurred in 1906 when it was decided to discontinue the LMS examination held since 1861. The last batch of the LMS students was examined in 1911.Until the admission of the 2002 batch, the college was affiliated with the University of Calcutta, after that it became formally affiliated to the West Bengal University of Health Sciences.

Calcutta Medical College Administrative Block
Calcutta Medical College Administrative Block

The college section is situated on the north-west portion of the campus and consists of separate blocks. These are distinguished by its architectures of red-brick. The Administrative block, crowned with a clock-tower, houses the Principal’s offices, the General Lecture theatre, the college library on the first floor and an examination hall on the second floor. There is a small patch of lawn in front of the Administrative block  The adjoining building is the Anatomy department, which also houses the hospital morgue. The next building is the Chemistry department and the last  building is the Pathology department.

Calcutta Medical College
Calcutta Medical College
Calcutta Medical College and Hospital Building
Calcutta Medical College and Hospital Building
Calcutta Medical College - David Hare Block
Calcutta Medical College – David Hare Block
Calcutta Medical College - Eden Hospital
Calcutta Medical College – Eden Hospital
Dibyendu Banerjee
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.

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