Maulana Azad College is located in central Calcutta, West Bengal, India. It is located near the junction of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and SN Banerjee Road, popularly called "Lotus crossing". It is a Government college and affiliated to the University of Calcutta. The College offers both post-graduate and under-graduate courses in a number of subjects in the three streams of Arts, Science and Commerce. However, the Arts stream is the largest in terms of number of students in both the Honours and General courses. Both male and female students study in the college.
Maulana Azad College was founded on 9 December 1926 by Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton, then Governor of Bengal. It was originally called Islamia College. The institution was the culmination of efforts of notable Muslim leaders like A. K. Fazlul Huq, M.Nishat Anwar Chowdhury the Great, Syed Nawad Ali Choudhury and Sir Abdul Rahim. The College campus was founded on land donated by Haji Mohammad Mohsin Qidwai, a prominent Muslim personality and landowner of Calcutta. The objective was the educational uplift of the Muslims of Calcutta and Bengal in general. Even today a good majority of the students of this College are Muslims of Calcutta, mostly Urdu-speaking Muslims, with a significant Bengali Muslim population also. However, admission to the College is open to all communities, and ever since Independence, a significant proportion of the students are from the Bengali Hindu community.
After the independence of India on 15 August 1947, the West Bengal government appropriated the College and decided to rename the college Central Calcutta College. Later in 1960 by an executive order of then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the college was renamed Maulana Azad College in memory of veteran Congress leader and freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
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“The mode of founding a college is, commonly, to get up a subscription of dollars and cents, and then, following blindly the principles of a division of labor to its extreme,a principle which should never be followed but with circumspection,to call in a contractor who makes this a subject of speculation,... and for these oversights successive generations have to pay.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)