Kerala college oldest in India, set to turn 200 in February
Deccan Chronicle| vinod nedumudy
CMS College professor finds out that it was founded in 1815
A photo of the CMS College taken by Alfred Frederick Painter, the then principal of the college in 1870. The students of that time are also seen. (Photo: DC)
Kochi: One of the most prestigious colleges in Kerala, the CMS College, Kottayam, is set to turn 200 next month, becoming the oldest Indian college.
Associate professor of Malayalam, Dr Babu Cheriyan, who has chronicled the history of the college Towards Modernity: The story of the first college in India, found references from various historians that suggest that the college was started in 1815, March with 25 students, mainly belonging to Syriac studies, and not in 1817 as widely believed.
"Till recently it was believed that missionary from Europe Benjamin Bailey was the first principal, but actually senior priest of the Malankara Syrian Church, Pulicottil Ittoop Ramban, was the first principal," said Prof. Cheriyan.
"The charisma of Resident Dewan Col. Munro was so great that Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Travancore, gifted 16 acres of land free of tax in Vrischikam in 1814 on the banks of the River Meenachil for the Kottayam College, which later came to be known as CMS College," said Prof. Cheriyan.
"We came across the evidence of establishment of the college in 1815 only recently and we will be launching the celebrations soon," said principal Dr Roy Sam Daniel.
"The college became a Cambridge model institution in 1817, for which it is believed that the college was established in 1817," he added.