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A Brief History of Murarichand. College


The proud heritage of academic excellence - Murari Chand College (also referred to as M.C. College), Sylhet- dates back to its founding in 1892.  The roots of M.C. College can be traced back to Murari Chand High School  which was established by  the determined efforts of  a  local nobleman, Raja Girish Chandra Roy of Roynagar, Sylhet in 1886. Raja Girish Chandra Roy was the adopted son of a childless widow, Braza Sundari Devi. Braza Sundari Devi was the daughter of Jamider (Feudal Lord) Babu Murari Chand Roy of Roynagar, Sylhet. Raja Girish Chandra Roy named the school after his maternal grandfather. The school became a second grade college in 1892 and started out its academic journey with only four teachers and eighteen students by introducing F.A (what is now HSC) Course under Calcutta University. At that time, the academic activities of both school and college were conducted by the same teachers and in the same building. Despite poor infrastructure facilities and the small number of teachers the college was advancing steadily. But the already troubled institution had to face an existential threat when the new University Regulations came into force in 1906. Raja Girish Chandra Roy immediately sought government help to keep the institution alive. The institution survived due to government aid sanctioned in 1908. But, ironically, Raja Girish Chandra Roy died the same year. The then Chief Commissioner of Assam, Archdale Earle, made his announcement in 1912 to bring Murari Chand College under the complete control of the government and to elevate its status to the first grade college. For that purpose, a bamboo and reed structure was constructed in the triangular shaped Gobindacharon Park (now known as Hasan Market). Later on, when science courses were begun at the intermediate level, a science laboratory was set up in the nearby Raja G.C. High School with water and gas facilities. Despite its inclusion as a government institute, local people started a movement demanding commencement of degree courses and upgradation of the college to the first grade. The movement was led by veteran elders such as Kazi Ilias, the local community and one of the most important members of the college board of directors Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid, C.I.E alias Kaptan Miah. In response to public demand, Archdale Earle proposed that if the local community bore half of the expense of the college for first two years, it would be possible for the government to start degree courses in Murari Chand College as well as upgrade its position to a first grade college. In accordance with those conditions, nine renowned devotees, in a meeting presided by Mr. Kaptan Miah, agreed to arrange the money. These nine benevolent persons were- 1. Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid, C.I.E alias Kaptan Miah, 2. Roy Bahadur Nolinee Kanta Dastider, 3. Khan Bahadur Hazi Mohammad Bakht Mozumder, 4. Roy Bahadur Boikuntanath Sharma, 5. Roy Bahadur Sukhmoy Sharma, 6. Roy Bahadur Promod Chandra Datta, 7. Babu Saroda Choron Shyem, 8. Babu Radhabinod Dam, 9. Babu Horendra Chandra Sinha. The aforementioned philanthropists donated eighteen thousand taka to the public fund to meet half of the expense of the college for next two years. As a result, degree courses were started and the college was upgraded to the first grade in July, 1916. All this was possible due to public demand and monetary contribution of the benevolent local community. In 1921 Khan Bahadur Abdul Majid took charge of the Ministry of Education in Assam Provincial Government. After taking office Mr. Abdul Majid invested his maximum effort to establish Murari Chand College as an ideal institution. The college had still been operating all its activities in the bamboo-reed house at Gobindachoron Park. This had to change. So, Thackeray Hill, which was about three miles to the east of the town of Sylhet, was selected and about a hundred and fifty acres of public land was acquired for the purpose of constructing a permanent campus for the college. His Excellency Sir William Morris, the Governor of Assam, laid the foundation stone of M.C College on 19 August, 1921.  Mr. Abdul Majid was so enthusiastic that he used to travel from Shillong to Sylhet to look after the construction work of the college. It is a matter of regret that Mr. Abdul Majid died at fifty at Shillong on 29 June 1922 while he was still in service. After the completion of its construction in its present beautiful campus, Murari Chand College was inaugurated by the then Governor of Assam on 27 July 1925. The Governor of Assam remembered Mr. Abdul Majid with profound respect in his inaugural speech- “The good and brave Khan Bhahadur has gone before seeing the completion of the new college at Sylhet and the other boons and reforms for which he worked so hard.”  Unfortunately, there is not a single plaque to commemorate Mr. Abdul Majid whose vision is now realised in the modern M.C. College. The College started teaching I.Sc  (Now HSC in Science) in 1913 and Degree (Arts) in 1916  under Calcutta University.  Honours courses began with the introduction of Sanskrit in 1918; and later, other subjects - English, Farsi, Arabic, Mathematics, Philosophy and History – were introduced. Degree (Science) was introduced in 1926; and honours courses in both physics and chemistry were started in the year of 1927. M.C College established itself as one of the finest academic institutions in the subcontinent for the excellent results attained in university examinations. Enrolments in Honours courses were temporarily postponed for a couple of years after the emergence of Pakistan and when the college got affiliated to Dhaka University. In 1961 M.C. College resumed honours courses in English, Bangla, Political Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. In 1968 it got affiliated to the newly established University of Chittagong and in 1970 this college started Masters (part 1) course in English, Bangla, Economics and Mathematics. But during the post liberation period of Bangladesh the Masters (part 1) course in every subject had been postponed due to shortage of teachers. On the other hand, the college newly started an honours course in Botany in 1972.  After the establishment of the National University in 1992, M.C. College, along with all colleges offering tertiary level courses across the country, became affiliated to it. Under National University, honours courses in Zoology and Sociology were begun in the college and masters courses in these subjects were started later on. Four more honours courses in Psychology, Islamic History and Culture,History and Statistics were started from the 2004-05 session. At present M.C College is offering both honours and masters courses in Bangla, English, Philosophy, History, Islamic History and Culture, Political Science, Economics, Sociology,  Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology and Statistics. It also offers Masters in Islamic Studies.

In 1964, in line with the plan made by the Education Division of Pakistan to separate higher secondary level from the major colleges of the country, Arts and Commerce groups were withdrawn from the Higher Secondary level of M.C College; albeit, under special consideration, the science group of the Higher Secondary level remained. Henceforth, the college’s name was changed to “Sylhet Government College”, and the newly founded intermediate college assumed the name “M.C Intermediate College.” The reason behind changing of the name was that in 1912 when the college was recognised as a Government institution it was an intermediate level college. In 1989 Mr. Hedayet Ahmed Choudhury, the then Education Secretary, restored the name “Murari Chand College” and the other intermediate college got the name “Sylhet Government College”. From the very beginning Murari Chand College has been led by wise and excellent principals and scholarly teachers.