A commemorative postage stamp on the 125th Anniversary of the St. Xavier‘s College, Kolkata, 2nd oldest Jesuit Institution in India :
Issued by India
Issued on Apr 12, 1985
Issued for : The Department of Posts is pleased to issue a commemorative stamp on the 125th anniversary of the founding of St. Xavier’s College, a college which is helping build up a body of youth, at once competent and dedicated to the service of India and their fellowmen -“Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” – to the greater Glory of God.”
Type : Stamp, Postal Used
Colour : Multi colour
Denomination : 100 Paise
Printed at : India Security Press
- In November 1859 a small band of seven Belgian Jesuits landed in Calcutta and under the leadership of Fr. H. Depelchin, started their educational activities on 16th January 1860, in a building at 10 Park Street, which since 1840 had been the famous Sana Souci Theatre. These were very humble beginnings, with only about 40 students spread over three classes. Two years later in 1862, the college was affiliated to the Calcutta University.
- Amongst the many alumni of the early days of its existence, St. Xavier’s can boast of some of its pupils who became world famous in later years. Men of great wisdom, intellect and scholarships have passed through the portals of this college. Notable amongst the luminaries are Rabindranath Tagore & Jagdish Chandra Bose. In his autobiography, Tagore wrote “I shall always retain one memory of St. Xavier‘s, the memory of its teachers.“ What Tagore wrote long ago is also true today, the relationship between teachers and students is still something unique.
- Jagdish Chandra Bose, found encouragement and guidance for his introduction to science in the person of Fr. E. Lafont, who became Rector of the College in 1871. Fr. Lafont, a remarkable teacher of science, had a knack for popularising science and did much for its spread in the country; so much so, that, he was called ‘the father of science in India’. Fr. Lafont‘s initiative and enthusiasm soon made St. Xavier’s famous for its science teaching and experimental work, a tradition which has been maintained upto the present day.
- Over the years the college has grown in size. In the last 25 years the number of students has increased from 3503 to 5326 of whom 1841 are in school and 3435 are in the college. The college has a total teaching staff of 187. The school section starting from the Primary, leads upto the Secondary School level. The College has four facilities: Arts, Science, Commerce and Teacher‘s Training; providing Degree and Honours courses. Importance of professional and employment-oriented education is recognised and the Department of Commerce with a strength of 2000 students completes classes early in the morning in order to enable the students to join their work during the day. The Teachers Training Department caters to the demand for trained teachers in Bengali, Hindi and English medium schools in the eastern region. The college now has become co-educational in the Honours courses of Arts and Science and in the Teacher’s Training department. This new venture has proved quite successful in raising the overall academic levels of the institution.
- St. Xavier’s has always been known for its cosmopolitan and all India character. The students, coming as they do from all over India, with diverse backgrounds of language, culture and religion live in complete harmony and understanding, and learn to look beyond local and group affinities, toward loyalties to the country and to the society at large.
- To the young scholars entrusted to its care, the college endeavours to impart an education based on the spirit of its founder St. Ignatius (1491-1556). The Ignatian vision of education goes far beyond the achievement of academic excellence. it includes a radical change of heart in the person of the educated and of the educator, turning them from selfish concerns to unreserved generosity to God and to their fellow men; it is characterised by an inner liberation of the spirit, making him truly free and mature, capable of assuming what ever responsibility is imposed on him.
- In India‘s struggle for the establishment of a just society, all educational institutions should aim at making their contribution towards radical transformation of present day social conditions, a transformation where principles of social justice, equality of opportunity, genuine freedom, respect for religious and moral values enshrined in the Constitution of India may prevail and the possibility of living a fully human existence may be open before all.