A commemorative postage stamp on the 150th anniversary of Bethune School, Kolkata :
Issued by India
Issued on May 7, 1999
Issued for : The Department of Posts is happy to issue this stamp to commemorate 150 years of Bethune Collegiate School.
Design : First Day Cover design depicts the Foundation Ceremony of the School.
Stamp & FDC : Dipak Dey and Gautam Chatterjee
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : First Day Cover
Colour : Single Colour
Denomination : 300 Paise
Overall size : 3.91 x 2.90 Cms.
Printing size : 3.55 x 2.54 Cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Paper : Imported unwatermarked Adhesive Gravure Coated Stamp Paper in Sheets 50.8 x 53.5 cms.
Stamps Printed : 0.7 Million
Number per issue sheet : 35
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
- Bethune School, the first recognized Government institution for the education of girls in Bengal, was founded by John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune in 1849. J.E.D. Bethune had come to India in 1848 as legal member in the Governor General’s Council. Education of women was a subject close to his heart, and by virtue of his committed work he soon became the President of the Council of Education. His noble efforts found support from the great social reformer of Bengal, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who also possessed a similar vision.
- The initial years were full of adversities and it was mainly the efforts of Pandit Vidyasagar who was the secretary of the school that ensured the survival of this institution. Dakshinaranjan Mukhopadhyay, Ramgopal Ghosh and Madan Mohan Tarkalankar also associated themselves with the school. That J.E.D. Bethune was a true visionary is evident from the fact that he not only focussed on women’s education at a time when education was the privilege of men-folk, but also promoted education through mother tongue where as English was the preferred medium those days. In the foundation stone laying ceremony Bethune announced. “You have seen possession of this land symbolically given by delivering to us of a young Asoka Tree, ……… I am told that its Bengali name may be not unfitly paraphrased as “The Tree of Gladness”. It is commended for this day’s ceremony not only by the gracefulness of its foliage, and the surpassing beauty of its flowers, but also because it is held in especial honour among Hindu Women…… I propose therefore, henceforth that the Asoka tree be made the symbol of female education in India and not here but by every school which has been already established in the villages of Calcutta in imitation of this, and near all those which shall hereafter be multiplied in the land, I suggest that an Asoka Tree be planted.” The tree still adorns the campus.
- This historical institution has withstood the test of time and led the way for the whole of Bengal in the field of women’s education. The school produced prominent students like Bhubanmala, Kundanmala, Sarala Das, Abala Bose, Kamini Rao and Priyambada Devi. The first lady doctor of Bengal, Kadambini Ganguly and the first lady graduate, Chandramukhi Bose were also students of this institution. The progress of Bethune Collegiate School can be measured in terms of the achievements of its students. In later years, Suchitra Mitra, the renowned Rabindrasangeet maestro, Ila Mitra, the famous politician, Asima Chatopadhayay, eminent scientist, Shova Sen, famous theatre personality and Polly Guha, the eminent designer brought glory to the school. This dignified institution comprising of primary, secondary and higher secondary sections with twelve hundred students on the roll is one of the most successful Government schools of Bengal.
- Text : Based on material supplied by Headmistress, Bethune Collegiate School, Calcutta.