A commemorative postage stamp on the Women’s Education (3rd Issue) : Indraprastha Girls School, Delhi :
Issued on Jul 8, 2006
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multicolor
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.8 Million
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
- In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century modern education was yet to reach the women of India, especially the north India. In March 1904, Annie Besant, in a pamphlet entitled ‘The Education of Indian Girls‘, inspired the Indraprastha Lodge of the Theosophical Society of India to promote girls’ education in tune with the Indian ethos and value systems. A small band of enlightened enthusiasts decided to establish a school in old Delhi, and on 21st May 1904, the first girls’ school in Delhi, the Indraprastha Girls’ School, came into existence with just seven students on its rolls. It was a defining and historic moment marking the beginning of a new era.
- Lala Jugal Kishore, an executive in a British firm, was the foremost amongst the founders who went from house to house to collect funds, and convincing hesitant parents to send their daughters to school. These ingenious and novel methods of collection of funds like ‘One Rupee Fund’ and ‘Hundred Rupee Fund’ helped the school to sustain and grow. Advocate Rai Pearey Lal, Lala Sultan Singh Rais, Seth Banwari Lal Lohiya, Lala Pearey Lal (Motorwale), Lala Balkrishan Das and Rai Bishamber Nath were the other founder members. Initially the curriculum constituted the study of religious texts, cookery, needlework, singing of hymns, first-aid, child health and creative arts and crafts, but the ultimate objective of the school was instilling patriotic fervour among the students while grooming them into responsible citizens.
- The school was started in a spacious three-storeyed Haveli, “Bhajan Bhawan”, located behind the Jama Masjid, where it continues to this day. This Haveli was gifted to the school by Lala Balkrishan Das, one of the founders and first Secretary of the School Society. Gradually the school gained acceptance in the society and became a pioneering example to be followed by others. Several girls’ schools came up in the area between 1906 and 1912. Indraprastha College for women was also established in 1924 in the same school building with just two students.
- At a time when it was difficult to get lady teachers, a bold beginning was made by Miss Leonora G’meiner from Australia, on the request from Annie Besant. In true theosophical spirit of universal brotherhood, she dedicated herself to the onerous task of imparting education to girls from conservative homes. Besides helping create a happy blend of the East and the West, she enhanced the reputation of the school with emphasis of decorum, discipline and dedication. Subsequently, she became the Founder Principal of Indraprastha College for Women.
- Indraprastha School has another distinction of being the first girls’ school in Delhi to start science subjects in 1923. A hostel in the school premises was also constructed for outstation students.
- Luminaries such as Rabindranath Tagore, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Motilal Nehru, Dr. Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, Tej Bahadur Sapru etc. visited this school and appreciated the pioneering work done in the field of women’s education in India.
- Indraprastha School has played a remarkable role in pioneering the education of girls of all creed and religion.