Bethune School, Laying of Foundation Stone, Cornwallis Square, Calcutta, 1850

বেথুন স্কুল ভিত্তি প্রস্থর স্থাপন, কর্ণওয়ালিস স্কোয়ার, কলকাতা ১৮৫০
Bethune set up his Hindu Female School, a secular native female school, in 1849. He did it with the support of such people as Dakshina Ranjan Mukherjee, Ramgopal Ghosh, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Madan Mohan Tarkalankar. The School was built first on a piece of land donated by Dakshina Ranjan at Mirzapur in Calcutta. It was renamed as Bethune School on 7 May 1849 which started functioning with twenty-one girls on its roll. Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was the Secretary of the Managing Committee and also one of its chief patrons. Bethune donated all his movable and immovable property to the school. After the death of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune on 12 August 1851, the school was shifted to a new building on the West of Cornwallis Square, where its foundation stone was laid on 6 November 1850. As soon as the school was established the orthodox society reacted sharply against the development. The school went through a rough time until it was amalgamated with Banga Mahila Vidyalaya, initially established as Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya by Annette Akroyd, and some Brahmo gentlemen, including Dwarkanath Ganguly. A number of bright students joined the institution – Kadambini Bose, Sarala Das, Abala Das, and Subarnaprabha Basu, all of whom were prominent figures later. Bethune School was an eye-opener for the Bengali upper middleclass and led to the opening of other such schools. In 1894, out of 138 students in Bethune School, 70 were Hindus, 55 Brahmos and 13 Christians. It was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that prejudice against women’s education had almost gone. See more
This is a pen and ink representation of the event of laying foundation stone of the school building sketched by some unknown contemporary artist. Source: Bethune School and College Centenary Volume 1949

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