|Oriental Seminary, Kolkataen.wikipedia.org|
|Oriental Seminary, Kolkata.wikimapia.org|
The Oriental Seminary, the earliest and largest privately run, first-rate school for children of Hindu parents in Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) was started in 1829 by Gour Mohan Addy, a self-taught man, who had deep interest in education and Indian culture. After a few early locations, the school is presently is located on Rabindra Sarani (earlier known as Chitpur Road) in Jorasanko, Calcutta. Shri Gour Mohan Addy, driven by patriotic zeal, took keen interest in educating Bengalis, in particular, Hindus in a traditional way, thus following western style syllabus without deviating from the ancient culture and tradition. It was not only India's first fully privately owned school, but also Hindu school. The Oriental Seminary played a valuable role in Bengal's renaissance.
This school was specifically started for Hindu boys to learn English besides other subjects. The Hindus decided to avoid schools run by missionaries to learn English, as their children were subject to substantial religious influence by the over enthusiastic missionaries. Some of them openly indulged in such unpalatable activities in the name of imparting English education. Further, in some states there were religious conversions in the missionary schools that offered free board and lodging to the converts. This was done in a subtle way and the then British government turned a blind eye to such instances. Hence a situation developed for both Muslims and Hindus to have their own schools where such religious compulsion or over exposure won't occur.
|Oriental Seminary, Calcutta, 1829.puronokolkata.com|
annual school function. Sir Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay,
well-known Bengali intellectual, had a long stint with this historical school from 1907 to 1922 as the president of its governing body. Its alumni included several well known people including Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore who completed his early education here. Well-known British who visited this school included Sir Edward Ryan, Sir Henry Seton, Sir Lawrence Peel, Lord Auckland, Lord Jocelyn, et al.
In 1853, Oriental Theater formed by the students initially staged Shakespeare dramas in English which did not get any response. So later they staged Bengali dramas. Later the school theater activities declined for unknown reasons. As happened to many historical institutions, this colonial oriental school may appear with a faded glory, but still retains the legacy that has lasted more than 184 years
After the death of Gour Mohun on Feb 23rd 1845, his brother, Hurrakisto Addy, took over the administration and kept up the tradition.