Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal1 College has a chequered history of more than 130 years. It was founded in 1888 by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan, the then ruler of the Princely State of Koch Bihar and an enthusiast in expanding the culture of learning in this region. The Maharaja originally named the College after Queen Victoria (Victoria College) to commemorate the 50 years of the Queen’s coronation. It is worthwhile to mention here that, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan was married to Sunity Devi, daughter of Sri Keshav Chandra Sen, a leading social reformer, educationist and the pioneer leader of Brahmo Samaj movement, during the Renaissance Period of Bengal. Sunity Devi along with her husband took keen interest in developing the academic atmosphere in this region which resulted in the foundation of Victoria College as a centre of higher studies. Incidentally after the independence of India, the Princely State of Koch Bihar came under Bengal Presidency in 1948 (it was finally merged with West Bengal on the 1st January, 1950) and Victoria College was also taken over by the Government of West Bengal.
The founder Principal of the College was Prof. J. D. Goodley who served the Institution from 1888-89. After a short stint of Principalship of two other Principals from abroad, Prof. Wood and Prof. Delafosse, Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal was the first Indian to grace the chair. He was at the helm of affairs of the College for 18 long years (1896-1913). Acharya, besides being one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of modern India, was a pioneer in the field of higher education in Bengal and set the example of simple living and high thinking. A Ph. D. and D. Sc. from Calcutta University in 1910 and 1915 respectively, Brojendra Nath Seal was appointed as George V Professor of Philosophy in 1914 (Renamed later on after Brojendra Nath in 1950). He was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University. It was Professor Seal who at the request of Tagore, inaugurated Viswa-Bharati in Santiniketan. In 1926 Knighthood have been conferred upon him. Under his stewardship, the College became famous as a centre of learning not only in Bengal but also in the whole of North-East India. During that period, the College was not only known for its undergraduate teachings but also known for its postgraduate department in English. Apart from this, the College conducted Bachelor of Law classes too.
Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal was succeeded by T. L. Vaswani as the Principal of the College. Professor Vaswani was one of the earliest supporters of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement and a close associate of Mahatma. Later on, he moved across the length and breadth of India, inculcating national consciousness. In 1933 he founded the Mira Movement in Education which stressed on the cultural value of India combined with the modern scientific spirit of inquiry.
Prof. Chandrika Prasad Banerjee of the discipline of History was the Principal of this college from 1957-1959. Incidentally, he was the son of great historian Prof. Rakhaldas Banerjee. Another stalwart who graced the chair of the Principal of this College was Prof. Bhabatosh Dutta (1975-1977). He was renowned scholar in Bengali literature and later on became the Vice-Chancellor of Viswa-Bharati. Prof. Pradip Mukherjee, a famous Geologist, and who acted as Principal of this College from 1969- 1970, moved on as Registrar, Calcutta University and subsequently became Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University. Victoria College and subsequently Acharya Brojendra Nath Seal College can also boast of a number of celebrated faculties at different points of time. During the period from 1888- 1930, Prof. Joykrishna Sen of the Department of English, Prof. Govinda Chandra Das of the then Department of Science, Prof. Jogesh Chandra Sinha Roy of Philosophy, Prof. Sarat Gupta of Sanskrit, Prof. Rajat Prosad Neogi of Mathematics, Prof Bir Chandra Sinha of Philosophy, Prof. Jotish Chandra Bhadra of Mathematics, Prof. Lalit Banerjee of English, Prof. Kapileswar Sastri of Sanskrit are few such distinguished faculties. During the period of 1930-1950, scholars like Prof. Phani Bhusan Chatterjee of Chemistry, Prof. Sarat Chandra Gupta and his brother Prof. Amulya Chandra Gupta (both of them) taught English and the latter was an alumni of this College too. Amulya Chandra Gupta’s book on Rhetoric and Prosody is considered a valuable work in English language. Prof. Pratul
Chandra Rakshit, a famous scholar on thermodynamics was also a faculty of this College during the forties. He had left a glowing account of his experiences in Cooch Behar. Prof. Debendra Kumar Ghosh served this College in the Department of Bengali. His book on History of Bengali Literature is listed in the Calcutta University. Prof. Chunilal Mukherjee of Economics and Prof. Durga Kinkar Bhattacharjee of English who incidentally were alumnus of this College, protested against the army deployment by the Maharaja in collaboration with the British Government at Cooch Behar in 1943. Prof. Durga Kinkar Bhattacharjee moved to Malda College as the Principal and later on he joined in the C. P. I. In the fifties of twentieth century, Prof. Sashi Bhusan Das and Prof. Santiranjan Banerjee of English (later moved to Burdwan University), Prof. Ganesh Chandra Bose (came from Dacca University and joined Jadavpur University), Bhabani Gopal Sanyal of Bengali (a famous writer), Kamal Kumar Ghatak of History (moved to Calcutta University) were eminent faculties of this College.
In recent past, the college have been blessed with some eminent faculties like Tarapada Chatterjee of Physics, Barnik Roy of Bengali, Prasanta Kumar Ghosh of Political Science (An exponent on Constitution), Dilip Kanjilal of Sanskrit, Basanta Samanta of Mathematics, Kaushik Biswas of Botany, Rampada Bhattacharjee and Bimal Chatterjee of Zoology.
The College produced outstanding alumni right from its establishment. Raisaheb Panchanan Barma was a famous educationist and social reformer. He passed F. A. from Victoria College in 1891 and B. A. in 1884. After passing M.A. from Calcutta University, he graduated in Law from Victoria College. It is pertinent to mention here that Panchanan Barma was the first M. A. and Law graduate from Cooch Behar.
Pulin Bihari Das, a revolutionary in Pre-independent India, passed F. A. in 1899 from this College. Famous social activist, politician and writer of this area, Upendranath Barma was a student of this College from 1916-1920. Famous Folk (Bhawaiya) song exponent Abbasuddin Ahmed passed B.A. from Victoria College. In the forties of the twentieth century, Sourin Bhattacharya who became a leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party was a student of this college. His brother Ramen Bhattacharya who later on became a Borough Chairman in London was also an alumnus. Sri Haraguri Gupta who became a Professor in Canada, was a student of this college.
Amit Roy and Ashok Roy an engineer and a M. R. C. O. G (London) settled in Canada and London respectively, were also students of this College. Famous Bengali novelist Shirsendu Mukherjee studied I. A. in this College. Sri Sukhbilas Barma, I. A. S. and a famous Bhawaiya singer was a student and faculty of this institution. Prof. Prahlad Sarkar of Philosophy in Calcutta University, Prof. Sankar Kumar Bhowmik of Economics in Calcutta University, Prof. Hari Madhab Sarkar of Linguistics in Jawarhalal Neheru University were the students of this institution. Finally Atreyi Ghosh of Chemistry (now a faculty in Alabama University, USA) is the alumna of this College.
The great history and tradition of the College and its continuing contribution to the field of education in the region was recognized by the UGC in 2010 when it accorded on the College, the honour of being a Centre with Potential for Excellence. The accreditation of the College with Grade A by The National Assesment and Accreditation Council in 2017 has also added a feather in the Crown of the institution.