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GOVERNMENT VICTORIA COLLEGE, PALAKKAD
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The College was started as a rate school in 1866, financed by local governments. It was accommodated in an Army mess house of a Sepoy regiment stationed here till 1860. The first Head master was Mr. G E LaNauze. In 1871 the institution was taken over by the Local Fund Board. The Board appointed Mr. T C Elseworthy as the headmaster and in six years the institution became a Zilla or Govt. High School. During the next seven years there were several changes in its accommodation. In 1887, when the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoriaís reign was celebrated every where in the country, the status of the school was raised to a second grade college and named Victoria Jubilee College. M R Ry. Sekhara Varma Valia Rajah, the Valia Rajah of Palaghat laid the foundation stone of the present central block and the building was completed in 1889 on a site granted by councillor Nellicherry S Narayana Iyer free of cost, at the expense of general public of Palaghat taluk and the Government. In January 1888 the college was affiliated to the Madras University.
Mr Elseworthy, the born teacher, good at English Geography and History, was at the Head masterís chair through out the developmental period from 1871 to 1890. For strengthening his hands, there were other prominent teachers like T J Venkatachala Iyer, T S Kalyanarama Iyer, M Krishnan Nair, N A Parasurama Iyer, late Dewan Bahadur L K Ananthakrishna Iyer etc. After the retirement of Mr. Elseworthy Many prominent figures assumed the principalship of this college. During the principalís period of Mr. Barrow the college was raised to a first grade and the name was changed to Victoria College.
After Mr. Barrow, Mr.Glyn Barlow, the well known editor of Madras Times took the charge of the Principal. It was his contribution to organize Inter Collegiate Sports. It was he who brought Parliamentary system of discussions among the students and started a College Magazine choosing the editors from the students. Dr. A R Menon, K P Kesava Menon, Nilambur Manavedan Raja, C S Ranga Iyer and others were distinguished students at that time. The College was flourishing enough to dispense with the Govt. Grant on the salary system as the College Department was concerned. In 1910 Mr. Davey led the college. He was a born teacher though not an Oxford Don like Mr. Barlow.
He gave free scholarships and stipends to poor students. His tangible service was to expand the college by constructing chain of buildings including the hostel for boys. In 1916 when Mr. Sankunny came on the chair of Principal, certain regulations regarding dress, which provoked students, was imposed. It was the time of Home Rule Movement organized by Mrs. Besant. Many College students joined a procession in honour of the release of Mrs. Besant. The Principalís action against some of these students led the whole college to go on strike for weeks. This painful episode resulted in taking over the College by Government from the Municipality which managed the College for 35 years. In 1925 Middle school Department was handed over to the Municipal Council. In the College there were three groups for the intermediate course, but for BA course the admission was restricted due to accommodation problem. In 1928 Mr. Papworth, The Principal succeeded in persuading the Municipality to give up the road which divided the college into two halves. Instead the Government built the present road encircling the college buildings Thus the College got free from dirt, traffic and noise that had been a great hindrance to its daily work. To get rid of the bazaar which faced the main entrance of the College, the present Krishnan Nair Gate was constructed. On 2nd April, 1932 the gateway was opened by the Governor, Sir George Stanley.
When the Victoria College celebrated the Golden Jubilee in 1937 It had played a great role in producing great personalities in every walk of life. The total strength of the college at that time was reduced to 225 due to the suspension of Mathematics and Philosophy groups. The need for introducing Science groups in Inter and BA was convinced to the Hon. Minister of Education to check the deterioration and popularity of the College. Thus in 1939 B.Sc Courses in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Electrical Science were opened. I 1944 Economics and Hindi were added. It raised the strength of the college to 837. For accommodation even verandahs were also converted to class rooms. The increase of strength caused remarkable improvement in the activity of the college library. The College Union, Magazine, The Athletic Association, The Dramatic Association were all able to function with great vigour and usefulness. A Social Service League was founded in 1943 with a lot of activities. A large Pavilion over looking the College play ground was constructed using funds raised from various internal sources like Athletic Association Fund, Magazine Fund etc. The wave of unprecedented excitement swept over the whole country when we attained independence affected the student population to some extend. The Diamond Jubilee which was planned to be celebrated in February 1948, had be postponed due to the death of our Father of Nation. Though the approval of Education Department was obtained to start B.Sc. Courses in Botany and Zoology, the university turned down the request for affiliation on the ground of lack of accommodation. With the expansion of additional facilities B.Sc. Courses in Botany and Zoology were introduced in 1950. It was when Mr. K S U Nair came on the chair of Principal, due attention was given to class IV employees especially in disbursing of their salaries in the first week itself. He organized the Golden Jubilee celebration lasting over a period of four days. It was a veritable feast of art and culture performed by the students guided by Appu Master. The Jubilee celebration was inaugurated by the Governor of Madras Presidency, the Maharaja of Bhavanagar. In 1957 the Govt. Victoria College had to cut off its long association with the Madras University and came to be affiliated to the Kerala University. The intermediate course was abolished and was replaced by the Pre-Degree course. The three year B.A Degree course was also introduced. Statistics became the first Post Graduate Department in the College when M.Sc. in Statistics was started in 1958. Later the Post Graduate Courses in Zoology (1958) and Physics (1960) were also started. M. Sc. Course in Botany was started in 1970, in Chemistry in 1975, in Mathematics in 1982.
Government Victoria College, Palakkad is one of the few colleges in Kerala with a tradition that is not only hoary but also rich and varied. It has established itself as one of the most accepted centres of higher learning in the state. Although the college was started as a Rate School way back in 1866, the institution rose into prominence as a college of renown in1887 when a great philanthropist, Sri Nellissery S. Narayana Iyer donated land gratis for the construction of this awesome alma mater. Since then the college has had a tradition of principals who were excellent academicians and administrators and students who were always eager to drink deep from the well of knowledge. Today the Government Victoria College occupies a peak of prominence among the cultural landmarks of this scenic district, if not of Kerala. It is spread over a campus of 25 acres punctuated by the imposing buildings housing various departments. The clock tower in the campus, the popular college maidan with its Victorian giant tree offering sumptuous shade to one and all and the towering Sir M Krishnan Nair Gate are just a few of the major attractions of this college.
The college is affiliated to the University of Calicut and has been recognised under Sn. 2 (f) by UGC (Vide UGC Act 1966). Now the college has fourteen departments, staff strength of 98 (including 24 guest lecturers) and 1750 students. Of the fourteen departments, ten are postgraduate departments. The post graduate department of Zoology has been recognised as a research department.
The college also has the following distinctive features:
Ten departments, viz. English, Economics, History, Commerce,Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Mathematics and Statistics were identified by the UGC as eligible for PG assistance during the IX th Plan.
Two vocational degree courses were started with UGC assistance in 1995 in Sericulture and Tax Practice. .
The Department of Zoology has to its credit a museum that preserves many rare specimens. It is recognised as a research centre and it offers specialisation in Entomology. The department also proposes to take up a research project on Environmental Studies and Entomology
This college caters to the academic needs of the largest number of SC/ST students in the state and those belonging to the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
The Central Library has around one lakh books which include many rare and old collections.
The Central Computer Lab with internet connectivity
The sprawling college ground is well maintained and caters to the needs of many local institutions too. In fact the college ground has a cricket pitch which is quite popular and has been the venue of Renji Trophy matches.
The NSS Unit of the college has bagged the best unit award for the state in the year 1997-98. The best Programme Officer Award was bagged by Shri K.Suresh Babu Lecturer Sl. Gr. Department of Economics. The best Volunteer also went to a student of this college. Now NSS Units are controlled by Sri .
The NCC cadets of the college have been in the forefront of activities. They have participated in social service activities like blood donation, eye donation motivation, anti-leprosy drive, AIDS awareness campaigns, etc. The cadets have also participated in several camps and attended parades outside the state. Former teacher in-charge of NCC Maj. M Vasudevan was adjudged the best officer cadet at the all India level. The Unit is now under the command of Maj. T N Sarasu, Sln. Grade Lecturer in Zoology.
Since the hostel for men is situated inside the campus, the college administration finds it more viable to manage the affairs of the students.
The college has been declared a Centre of Excellence by the Department of Higher Education, Government of Kerala.
The college is well connected by both road and rail. In fact,the college is the only one of its kind in the district of Palakkad which can boast of this facility.
The hall of fame of this college includes literary luminaries like OV Vijayan, Olappamanna, MT Vasudevan Nair, MR Nair(Sanjayan), C Radhakrishnan, Unnikrishnan Puthoor , OV Usha, Rajalekshmi and Neelamperoor Madhusudanan Nair and EM Sankaran Namboodiripad who is also a doyen of Indian politics; bureaucrats like TN Seshan and erstwhile chairman of Konkan Railways, E Sreedharan ; media men like late KP Kesava Menon and VK Madhavankutty ; jurists like VR Krishna Iyer; physicists like Dr. PR Pisharody, and historians like Dr K N Panikker. This list does not include names of old students who got into the Indian Administrative Service/Indian Foreign Service and allied services.
The college can boast of an efficient CDC and PTA. Both these bodies contribute significantly to the management of the college, especially by providing financial assistance when governmental finance is not forthcoming due to procedural snags.
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