St. Paul’s School - Heritage Schools
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09-10-2019    193 times
St. Paul’s School

There is no doubt about the fact that, the Christian Missionaries played a pivotal role in spreading education to the varied sections of society and established a modern system of education in the city of Calcutta. However, they initiated to spread the light of education among the mass, with the ultimate aim to spread evangelism in the country.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the enlightened section of the Bengali Society sincerely felt that the traditional education system prevailing in the country does not have any practical use and they were convinced about the urgent necessity of imparting English education to the young generation. As the missionaries were waiting for the right moment, they took this opportunity and opened an English Medium school, known as the Mirzapur English School, in front of the Mission office building in April 1822, with Mr J A Jetter, a German Missionary, as the first superintendent of the school. After six months from its inception, the number of students in the school had been just sixteen.

Private Teacher

Located at 33/1 Amherst Street, renamed as Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani, the School is adjacent to the Holy Trinity Church and opposite to the huge building of the Vishudhanand Saraswati Marwari Hospital. Rev. Krishna Mohan Banerjee, the first Bengali teacher in the school, was in charge of the school, from 1832 to 1836.It was for his untiring and persistent efforts that the school was able to start a hostel for its students.

St Pauls School
Main entrance to St. Paul's School & St Paul's Cathedral Mission College

From 1841 to 1848, Rev James Long was in charge of the school, who apart from his regular duties, translated the much controversial drama ‘Nildarpan’, written by Dinabandhu Mitra, one of his former students in a free school. The drama, based on the plight of the indigo farmers, earned the wrath of the ruling British. As a result, it was banned and James Long was jailed and fined by the British for translating the drama from Bengali. Nevertheless, after serving his terms, Rev James Long rejoined and continued to serve the school for more than twenty years. Throughout his tenure, the Institution did not impose any charge from the students and it remained a free school, while the mission took the responsibility to bear all the necessary expenses to run the institution. Apart from his students, even the locals loved and respected James Long, who was also closely connected with the Holy Trinity Church, situated next to the school building. In fact, in those days the Church was popularly known as Long Sahib-ka Girja, meaning the Church of Mr Long.

St Pauls School
James Long

A two-storey building, named the Jubilee House, was added to the school in 1872 and in 1915, a three-storey building was erected behind the main building at the southeast side, as a part of the hostel. The new building was dedicated to Rev A E Eland, the principal of the school during1902-1914, and was named Eland Hostel. The full and complete charge of the school was handed over by the Mission to the Bishop of Calcutta, somewhere between 1927 an 1929.

After more than a century since its inception, the institute became a Higher Secondary school in 1958, with the Arts and Science departments. Subsequently, on the 1st day of January 1980, the primary and the secondary departments of the school came under the West Bengal Government Free Scheme. Consequently, with the permission from the West Bengal Government, the Calcutta Diocese formed two separate Steering Committees for the primary and the secondary departments of the school. Since then, the two committees are working in close compatibility and solidarity for the betterment of the school.

Tutorial at home
Tutorial at home

Surprisingly, in the calendar of Calcutta University the name of the school was mentioned as Mirzapur Mission School and not as St Paul’s School, until 1970-1971. Nevertheless, the school completed 175 years of its glorious existence in 1997. The school, which once started by the Missionary Society with only sixteen boys in its role, has now become a reputed educational institution of quality education.

St Pauls School
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    Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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