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     Volume 2 Issue 2| January 10, 2010|


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Murari Chand College:
A centurial journey

Tithe Farhana

MURARI Chand College (MC College), of Sylhet has a rich tradition and history to make the founders happy in the heaven. In over a century the institution, set in a lush green pastoral environment, has produced some luminaries of the country who held high positions in civil and military services as well as in other professions. The college has celebrated its 117th year of foundation through organising various programmes. In fact, it was established more as an educational and cultural revolution of Great Sylhet division and Assam province.

Brojosundori, a childless widow and daughter of zaminder Murari Chand of Raynagar adopted Raja Girish Chandra Roy as a foster son who later set up Murari Chand High School in 1886 in Sylhet to spread the light of education. When he received positive response from everyone, he took a major initiative to upgrade the high school into college. And thus the voyage of historic MC College started on 27 June in 1892 under Calcutta University with only 18 students. Shotis Chandra Ray was the first principal of this college. Poor infrastructure, financial problems and other obstacles came in the way of providing quality education. In this situation local elites and conscious people became united and requested for government grant to save this institution from closing down. As a result, in 1908 it achieved government recognition along with grant.

1912, Sir Richard Earl, the then Governor of Assam approved it and upgraded it to first class category.

After this recognition the college building was built in Gobindo Park (Presently Hasan market) and since then has been spreading the light of education. Soon people started to demand for upgrading the college to Graduate College. Sir Richard Earl gave a condition that if the local people would bear 50% of the total expenses of the college for two years, then govt. would start the Graduation courses. Some philanthropists came forward under the leadership of Khan Bahadur Syed Abdul Mazid to raise funds along with other notable persons, such as Roy Bahadur Naliny kanto Dostidar, khan Bahadur Haji Mohammad Bokth Majumder , Roy Bahadur Boikunthanat Sharma, Roy Bahadur Shukhamoi Chowdhury, Roy Bahadur Promoth Chandra Datta, Babu Sharda Charan Sham, Babu Radha Binod Dham and Babu Horendra Nath Sinha. They agreed to provide 50% of the expenses and thus on July 1916 the college was upgraded to Degree College, which laid a milestone for the future success.

In January 1921 Khan Bhahadur Syed Abdul Mazid became the education minister of Assam and promised to improve MC College. Then the college was shifted to its new place at Thackarey Hills (now Tilagarh) and acquired 150 acres of land for the college premises. Finally Sir William Morris the then Governor of Assam inaugurated the present campus on 27 July 1925. Over a period of time, the college started honours and masters courses. In 1927 it started honours in Physics and chemistry courses, then after a long gap in 1961it started honours in English, Bangla, Political Science, Economics, Mathematics, then it was affiliated with the newly established Chittagong University in 1967. At present there are 19 departments providing honours and masters programme under the National University at the same time HSC only in science group under Sylhet Education Board. There are nine academic buildings consisting of classrooms, library and offices for around ten thousand students.

Poet Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam visited this college, which enriched its values. Students of this college had played a significant role in our glorious Language Movement in 1952 and War of Liberation in 1971. Since the independence till date a lot of brilliant students have been playing a significant role in politics, bureaucracy, and cultural arena both in national and international platform.

Some of the big names who graduated from MC College: Neehar Ranjan Roy a famous historian, M Altaf Hossain former editor of Dawn, a famous Pakistani Daily newspaper, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, present Finance Minister of Bangladesh, Late M. Saifur Rahman, former Finance Minister, late Principal Dewan Mohammad Azraf, present Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Late Jyanendranath Sharma former professor of Mathematics at Karimganj College, Karimganj, India; Colonel Abu Taher, Bir uttom, Late Comrade Prasun Kanti Roy, popularly known as Barun Roywho who did his BA from Sylhet MC College and was the president of Sylhet district Chhatra Federation in 1947, martyred intellectual Dr. Shamsuddin Ahmed who was brutally killed by Pakistani army in 1971, Late Hena Das, an women activist and communist leader, Late Azmal Hussain Choudhury, former Conservator of Forest, Poet Dilwar, popularly known as Peoples Poet, he was honored with Ekushey Podok for his contribution to our literature, Dr.Zayed Bakth a renowned economist and Research Director of BIDS , Sultan Mohammad Monsur a member of parliament .

7 November 1919 was a historical day for MC College, when the Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore came and delivered a remarkable speech before the students at M.C. College hall. This speech was published in a literary journal “Akangkha” of Shantiniketan (1920). Our national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam also visited Sylhet for the first time in 1926. Dewan Mohammad Azraf mentioned in his writings about the visit of Kazi Nazrul Islam in Sylhet. During his visit the poet stayed here for almost a month. Every day he used to attend formal and informal programmes and gatherings. All the teachers of MC College and their wives joined him at dinner at the residence of Vice Principal of the college.

Present scenario
Syeda Shamsunnahar the present and 44th principal of MC College replied in a question about the current status of the college, “Shortage of teachers and classrooms is seriously hampering academic activities of the century-old MC College. However, Principal Syeda Shamsunnahar is hopeful that, all concerned will come forward to overcome these problems and make it an ideal institution for the next generation.

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