CHANGING THE FACE OF WOMEN’S EDUCATION
Even as late as 1940, women’s education had not made such big strides in India as it did after India’s independence. In Bihar, the situation was even less advanced and lagged far behind other states in this respect. However, when the Patna Women’s College was actually opened, the reaction from the people was favourable and encouraging, even though it took some years before the college began to fill up.
Nothing great has ever been achieved without a firm faith in God, hard labour and a determination to meet courageously every challenging situation that threatens to prevent or destroy the good work begun. Patna Women’s College, we can truly say, has had its own painful experiences and superhuman difficulties to combat, but, through it all, the college has emerged successfully, weathered all difficult seasons of the beginning years and is today counted among the foremost women’s colleges in India.
Patna Women’s College was committed to the holistic development of the women of Bihar, through their education, to serve the country. Making higher education available to the otherwise backward women, was intended to prepare them to take their rightful place in society and in their homes. The women, in general, tended to sink into inferiority, perhaps due to the patriarchal mindset that existed in our society. It was by educating women and making them fit to be intellectually and culturally worthy to be on equal terms with men, that Patna Women’s College was established in this State of Bihar.
Woman thus educated, is a liberated woman. This liberation of the Indian woman was another major objective in our efforts to bring higher education to the women of Bihar. The woman who enters the university/college is free to pursue a variety of subjects. She is capable of studying the various problems of society and its aspirations and help them to become relevant in order to respond effectively to the demands of the society of the present day times. Thus, a genuine spirit of social concern and social justice was also envisaged in the aims set forth in our objectives.
Another essential objective in encouraging the higher education of women, one truly vital for the progress of our country, was to achieve national integration. The college is a venue where students of different castes and creeds, of different status in life, of different communal groups, and even of different nations, gather together. The various activities, academic, cultural and physical, bring all these together to seek common goals, common purposes, common ends, with the result that, ipso facto, there takes place that much desired national integration. All communal and national walls of prejudice crumble most naturally, resulting in fellow-feeling and bonhomie.
It goes without saying that academic excellence claimed priority in the gamut of objectives proposed for the opening of Patna Women’s College way back in 1940 From the start, the results in the University Examinations were a significant indication of the competence and conscientious work of the well-selected religious and secular staff. The best qualified lay lecturers were pressed into the service of the college.
Such were and still are the chief aims and objectives of Patna Women’s College. How far we have been successful in achieving these objectives, our students past and present and our society of Bihar must judge.
Dr. Sister M. Rashmi A.C.
Patna Women’s College, Autonomous.