Inspiring girls to excel

Maharani Kasiswari College, in north Kolkata, affiliated with Calcutta University, offers various degree courses and shares its space with two other colleges, Maharaja Manindra Chandra College (day college) and Maharaja Sris Chandra College (evening college).

Inspiring girls to excel

Maharani Kasiswari College shares its space with two other colleges, Maharaja Manindra Chandra College (day college) and Maharaja Sris Chandra College (evening college)

A women’s college, which mentions its mission is to provide women education during separate hours and separate infrastructure and ensure and sustain quality in education, is trying to make its mark in the city.

Maharani Kasiswari College, in north Kolkata, affiliated with Calcutta University, offers various degree courses and shares its space with two other colleges, Maharaja Manindra Chandra College (day college) and Maharaja Sris Chandra College (evening college).

This college came into existence in 1964 after directions from the UGC, when Manindra Chandra College was split up into three units: Morning, Day and Evening, with separate affiliations under CU. The Morning section, meant exclusively for girl students, started functioning from 2 December 1964, and was named after Maharani Kasiswari, in memory of Maharani Kasiswari, who once entered this house as a 7-year-old bride.


The genesis of the college dates back to 1 October 1947, when the Manindra Chandra College morning came into being.

But the college faced a space crunch as the years passed by and the college started growing in strength. The principal of the college, Prof. Sima Chakrabarti, said she had to think wisely to create more space out of the existing one, which was a challenge. “After I joined, the most acute problem that I saw the college faced, was space. The space is being shared by three colleges. I was constantly looking to add space for more classes and for the staff. Fortunately, Kasiswari College had a separate building for itself. The space was small, but I started adding up space with modifications to rooms and other vacant spaces. The college had a couple of floors and two rooms on the roof, which were temporary structures. I made them permanent and also expanded the space above. As a result, the college now has three floors. We also have a cooking laboratory for the food and nutrition classes. The college boasts a gymnasium within the campus. We have also managed to carve out space for an auditorium too,” said Prof. Chakrabarti, who got her PhD from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Jadavpur.

The website of Maharani Kasiswari College enlists its vision as to serve the nation by producing a continuous flow of mentally and physically self-reliant, empowered, unprejudiced and socially committed ‘efficacious human resources’ who would be capable of facing any challenge in the context of rapid global changes.

Accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the college offers undergraduate courses in science, arts and commerce.

Prof. Chakrabarti joined the college as principal in 2008. Before taking over the responsibility of the college, she was working as a professor at Krishnath College Berhampur, where she worked for seven years, since 2001.

Listing her career graph, Prof. Chakrabarti said she had been to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel for research and also had joined the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics as a research associate.

Now, the principal, apart from doing her administrative job, also takes classes and conducts examinations in physics.

The principal, after joining, started some of the subjects in the college after getting affiliation from Calcutta University, like geography, psychology, library science and computer science (Hons).

The college offers tourism and travel management, which includes a tour guide programme, as an add-on course.

Maharani Kasiswari College also holds regular job fairs, which are organised by the career development committee of the college. Every year, eager students appear for it and get jobs.

The college has also managed to implement the National Education Policy (NEP 2020). “We are managing well. We are distributing subjects amongst teachers and departments. NEP is very flexible, and it is not restricted to one department. There is collaboration between other colleges for subjects, and the students love the experience of collaboration. NEP is excellent for job preparation, too. NEP also has excellent scope for students to have internships. We do not face a space crunch and can continue our classes after the morning hours by virtue of a separate building for us. Arts and commerce classes start at 6.30 a.m. and go on until 12.30 p.m. For science, it starts at 8.30 am and continues till 2.30 am,” said the principal.

Today, the college has grown manyfold. With just two computers in 2008, the college now has over 60 computers.

Earlier, the college did not have its own library and had to share it with the other two colleges. Now, the college not only has a separate library, it is quite big, and it also has computer support for the students. The added advantage of the library is its separate reading rooms.

With the state government starting a centralised admission portal, the college is prepared to go live. “I want to see it function. We are going to experience it for the first time. It is a good move, but in the initial days, it will be a challenge for us. We have also put out videos on the portal about the college. Right now, we are busy with the self-study report, preparing it for the UGC,” said the principal.

The college and its principal take great care in its development in the sporting arena. The college has also engaged a sports teacher for the students. “Our students are very good at sports. They secured nine gold medals out of 10 events they took part in in the inter-college competition under the CU recently,” said Prof. Chakrabarti.

Though the women’s college does not have a playground, the students practise at Shyam Park and Children’s Park, both within 150 metres of the college.

“We also plan to have a women’s football team, which has huge potential and a future. Last year, we announced the formation of our team, but we got resistance from the parents. We also have regular yoga and self-defence classes. Our NCC unit is also very strong and does a lot of activities,” said Prof. Chakrabarti.

The college has signed an MoU with Baghbazar Women’s College and engages in teacher and student exchange programmes.

Students of the college celebrated World Environment Day on 5 June by planting trees. “We celebrate other days too by planting saplings of trees. We also created slogans against the cutting of trees to generate awareness, informed its principal.

The college posts inspirational write-ups on its websites to motivate the students.

At the college, there are many girls who come from financially deprived families, and the principal says she has been inspiring them to carry on with their studies despite hurdles. “I try to do something for them by waving off some of their fees under provisions or inspiring them to continue their studies,” said Prof. Chakrabarti.