Painting of Chandramukhi Bose

9th Oct 2023

Date : 09 Oct 2023

On 9.10.2023, a painting of Chandramukhi Bose, the first Principal of Bethune College, by Sri Nirmalendu Mandal, was presented to the college by three illustrious former principals, Prof.(Dr.) Pushpa Mishra, Prof.(Dr.) Manimala Das and Prof.(Dr.Mamata Ray) at a brief ceremony held in the Centenary Hall. The programme was attended by two former teachers of the college, Prof. Sunanda Ghosh and Prof. Shyamali Sarkar who, along with Prof. Pushpa Mishra, had retrieved books and documents of Chandramukhi Bose from her Dehradun home.


Chandramukhi Bose (1860-1944), the daughter of Bhuban Mohan Bose, a Native Christian from Dehradun, attended the Free Church Normal School from where she passed her First Entrance Exam. In 1876, she aspired to take the Entrance examination of Calcutta University, but the Syndicate of Calcutta University, after reviewing her application at a meeting held on November 25, 1876, allowed her to be privately examined only, indicating that she would not be recognized as a registered candidate and if she passed the examination, she would not be included among successful candidates.
The Syndicate announced on January 27, 1877 that Chandramukhi Bose had passed in all subjects - an achievement for a girl in those days, although her result was not published. It was stated that "any person" with the necessary qualifications could appear for the examination, "person" at that time signifying only men. However, this was rectified on April 27, 1878, when the Syndicate declared that female candidates could appear for all University examinations.
This historical error was corrected by a team of researchers from Bethune College and the then Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University was requested to officially declare that Chandramukhi had passed her entrance examination in 1876. Rectifying the error made by the Syndicate over a century ago, the University authorities issued Chandramukhi's long overdue pass certificate, posthumously, at the Convocation of 2013.
College classes in Bethune School started in 1879 because Chandramukhi Bose and Kadambini Ganguly wanted to study further. Both passed their B.A. Examination in 1883 to become the first women graduates in India. Chandramukhi continued her higher studies in M.A. She joined her alma mater in 1884 as a teacher. In the session 1886-87, Chandramukhi Bose was appointed Lady Superintendent and later, with the college department formally affiliated to Calcutta University in 1888, she became the Principal, thus becoming the First Principal of Bethune College. She retired in December, 1901 and lived in Dehradun for the rest of her life.