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The Scottish Church College is the oldest continuously running Christian liberal arts and sciences college in Indiamarker. It is affiliated with the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (for the Scottish Church Collegiate School), the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education for the awarding of baccalaureate and post baccalaureate diplomas, and with the University of Calcutta for graduate and postgraduate degrees.

It is well-known for its beautiful campus, renowned faculty, robust intellectual milieu and its English Palladian architecture. Its students and alumni call themselves "Caledonians" in the name of the college festival, "Caledonia".

Founder and historical significance

The inception of what is now known as the Scottish Church College is intertwined with the life of Dr. Alexander Duff, D. D. LLD. (1806-1878), the first overseas missionary of the Church of Scotlandmarker, to India. Initially known as the General Assembly's Institution, it was founded on the 13th of July 1830.

Alexander Duff was born in Moulin, Perthshiremarker, the very heart of Scotlandmarker, on 15 April 1806. From the country school, he passed on to the University of St Andrewsmarker, where, after getting his degree, he ended a brilliant career. Subsequently, he undertook his evangelical mission to India. After an adventurous voyage during which he was twice shipwrecked, he arrived in Calcutta on 27 May 1830.
Reverend Dr. Alexander Duff, DD, LLD
Principals of General Assembly's Institution (1830-1908)
Principal of Free Church Institution (1843-63)
Principals of Duff College (1863-1908)
Principals of Scottish Churches College (1908-1929)
Principals of Scottish Church College (1929-present)
Rev. Alexander Duff opened his institution in Feringhi Kamal Bose's house, located in upper Chitpore Road, near Jorasankomarker. In 1836 the institution was moved to Gorachand Bysack's house at Garanhatta. Mr. MacFarlon, the Chief-Magistrate of Calcutta, laid the foundation stone on 23 February 1837. Mr. John Gray, elected by Messrs. Burn & Co. and superintended by Captain John Thomson of the Honourable East India Company designed the building. The construction of the building was completed in 1839.In the early 1800s, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland sent Reverend Alexander Duff, a young and dedicated missionary, to Kolkata to set up an English-medium institution. Though Bengalismarker had shown some interest in the spread of Western education from the beginning of the 19th century, both the local church and government officers were skeptical about the high-caste Bengali's response to the idea of an English-medium institution. Raja Ram Mohan Roy helped by organizing the venue and bringing in the first batch of students. He also assured the guardians that reading the Bible did not necessarily imply religious conversion. Although his ultimate aim was the spread of English education, Duff was aware that without a good command on one's native language, it was impossible to master a foreign language. Hence in his General Assembly's Institution (as later in his Free Church Institution), the teaching and learning of the Bengali language and literature was given high priority. Duff was keen on sports and had accumulated different kinds of sports-related equipment for use in his institution. When he introduced political economy as a subject in the curricula, the Church strongly criticized him.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy Bahadur, who supported Rev.
Duff in spreading English education in India

In 1840, Duff returned to India. At the Disruption of 1843, Duff sided with the Free Church. He gave up the college buildings, with all their effects and with unabated courage, set to establish a new institution, which came to be known as the Free Church Institution. He had the support of Sir James Outram and Sir Henry Lawrence, and the encouragement of seeing a new band of converts, including several young men born of high caste. In 1844, governor-general Viscount Hardinge opened government appointments to all who had studied in institutions similar to Duff's institution. In the same year, Duff co-founded the Calcutta Review, of which he served as editor from 1845 to 1849. These two institutions founded by Duff, i.e., the General Assembly's Institution and the Free Church Institution would be merged later to form the Scottish Churches College. After the unification of the Church of Scotlandmarker in 1929, the institution would be known as Scottish Church College.

Along with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the father of modern Indiamarker, Dr. Duff played a significant role in supporting Lord Macaulay in drafting his famous Minute for the introduction of English education in India. Successive eminent missionary scholars from Scotland, viz. Dr. Ogilvie, Dr. Hastie, Dr. Macdonald, Dr. Stephen, Dr. Watt, Dr. Urquhart and others contributed to the spread of the liberal Western education. Along with other educational institutions like Serampore College, Hindu College, the Scottish Churches College played a pivotal role in ushering the spirit of intellectual enquiry and a general acceptance of the ideals of the European Enlightenment, among Bengalis, in what came to be regarded as the Young Bengal Movement and later, the Bengal Renaissance.

Duff's contemporaries included such luminaries as Reverend Mackay, Reverend Ewart and Reverend Thomas Smith. Till the early 20th century the norm was to bring teachers from Scotlandmarker (like William Spence Urquhart, Leslie Stephen, H.M. Percival, Ian Fairweather etc.) but eminent Indian scholars were also engaged as teachers by the college authorities. Scholars like Surendranath Banerjea, Kalicharan Bandyopadhyay, Jnan Chandra Ghosh, Gouri Shankar Dey, Adhar Chandra Mukhopadhyay Sushil Chandra Dutta, Mohimohan Basu, Sudhir Kumar Dasgupta, Nirmal Chandra Bhattacharya, Bholanath Mukhopadhyay and Kalidas Nag had all contributed hugely to enhance the academic standards of the college.

Dr. Duff played a leading part in founding the University of Calcutta in 1857, he was associated with the Agro-horticultural Society and the establishment of a medical college, the first in India. He also aimed at breaking down caste-barriers by founding several girls schools. The Scottish Church College played a pioneering role in women's education as well as co-education in the country. Female students comprise half the present roll strength of the college. With the added interest of the missionaries in educational work and social welfare, the college stands as a monument to Indo-Scottishmarker co-operation. The aims and principles of the College are essentially those of its founder namely, the formation of character through education based on Christian teaching.

Current status and ranking

Scottish Church College at 175
  • Until 1953, the administrative control over the college was exercised by the Foreign Mission Committee of the Church of Scotlandmarker. This was exercised by jointly by a local council consisting of representatives of the Church of Scotland and the United Church of Northern India. Later the Foreign Mission Committee of Church of Scotland relinquished its authority to the United Church of Northern India, and in 1970, the United Church of Northern India joined the Church of North India as a constituent body. This made the Church of North India the de facto and de jure successor (to the Church of Scotland) in running the administration of the college. As the college was founded on Christian (Protestant and Presbyterian) foundations, it derives its legal authority and status as a religious minority institution as defined by the scope of Article 30 of the Constitution of India.

Scottish Church College in popular culture

In fiction

  • Satyajit Ray's fictional scientist-cum-investigator Professor Shanku started his career as a professor of physics at the Scottish Church College.
  • Samaresh Majumdar's bestsellng novel Kalbela is a gripping story about Calcutta's culture, politics and society in the aftermath of the 1970s Naxalite movement. Samaresh Majumdar won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for Kalbela in 1984.

In cinema

Notable alumni

Since its inception, it has continuously produced alumni who have excelled or have been influential in various fields. The spirit of the Protestant work ethic, originally espoused by its founders and teachers have been verily inculcated in its students. To sum it, the following excerpt from the 2004 NAAC Report is very appropriate:

Social reformers and religious leaders

Politicians and freedom fighters




Academics and vice chancellors

Performing arts, theater and cinema

Writers and poets







  1. Basu, Pradip. The Question of Colonial Modernity and Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 35.
  2. Matilal, Anup. The Scottish Church College : A Brief Discourse on the Origins of an Institution in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. pp19-20.
  3. Master visionary
  4. Rev Ian Fairweather by William F. Hendrie
  5. AULP schedule
  6. [1]
  7. NAAC - National Assessment and Accreditation Council
  8. Star tag on six colleges
  9. Half in, half out in college tag race
  10. Sahitya Akademi Awards 1955-2007
  11. Article in The Telegraph on the film Kaalbela
  12. NAAC directory of accredited colleges in West Bengal
  13. From the Brahmo Samaj website
  14. Entertainment Homepage
  15. International Society for Krishna Consciousness
  16. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada By Stephen Knapp
  17. Reflections around Swami Gambhirananda
  18. Bisheshwor Prasad Koirala
  19. Gopinath Bordoloi
  20. [2]
  21. Brief Bio-data
  22. 'Big cities have big problems'
  23. B L Joshi sworn-in as new Meghalaya Governor
  24. Kolkata old boy is Nepal’s top statesman
  25. Panja, Ajit Kumar
  26. [3]
  27. Code Name Success
  28. Photo News
  29. From Dharam Lall to Lord Lall
  30. Passage to England
  31. Bill's bill for riches
  32. The IMF's new munim
  33. A. K. Sarkar
  34. Amarendra Nath Sen
  35. Ganendra Narayan Ray
  36. [4]
  37. Hon'ble Mr. Justice Umesh C. Banerjee
  38. Banerjee new chief justice of Andhra HC
  39. Seal, (Acharya) Brajendra Nath
  40. Satischandra Ray (1882-1904)
  41. Chatterji, Suniti Kumar
  42. AnthroSource: Error
  44. Nirmal Kumar Bose - Scholar wanderer
  45. Sen, Benoychandra
  46. Chanda, Ramaprasad
  47. Chemistry alumni, Scottish Church College
  48. Chemistry alumni, Scottish Church College
  49. BANGLAPEDIA: Bhaduri, Shishir Kumar
  50. Padmabhusan Manna
  51. A Cultural Colossus
  52. Chasing the Truth: The Films of Mrinal Sen
  53. Sen, Mrinal
  54. Merchant of Dreams
  55. Kaleidoscopic journey of an artiste and his troupe
  56. Mustard memories
  57. Campus Buzz
  58. ENAD's Fourth Production
  59. A tale of two cities
  60. Vita of Nirad Chaudhuri
  61. Bose, Manomohan
  62. Dutta, Satyendranath
  63. Dutta, Sudhindranath
  64. Sudhindranath Dutta (1901 - 1960)
  65. Parvati Prasad Baruva
  66. "People's poet of Bengal-Subhas Mukhopadhyay" By Dr Ashok K Choudhury
  67. Kaleidoscopic journey of an artiste and his troupe
  68. Mustard memories
  69. Bani Basu
  70. Stranger than fiction
  71. Meenakshi Mukherjee: Bani Basu's Novels
  72. [5]
  73. Jagmohan Dalmiya: Cricket's face of change
  74. Biography of Shyamal Ghosh, Chairman
  75. The IMF's new munim
  76. Ajitkumar Chakravarty (1886-1918)
  77. travel media shopping computers hardware at
  78. "Better play abroad than crib at home" (6 Dec 2003)
  79. His Indian Heritage Marks Bivas Chaudhuri’s Abstract Art At Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus in October
  80. Bivas Chaudhuri
  81. Chowdhury, Bulbul
  82. [6]
  83. Mustafa Monwar: A legend of our times
  84. Gourgopal Ghosh (1893-1940)
  85. (fitnessNEPAL/History)
  86. "Encounter with a martyr’s daughter" By Sudha Shrestha
  87. Checkmated, master of board game
  88. 'Unexpected' finish by Surya Sekhar
  89. Ganguly, Surya Shekhar
  90. Indian National Championship won by Surya Ganguly

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