Our former Student, Teacher and Principal Prof. B. Hridayakumari recalls her days on the campus of Government College for Women.
The country was on the brink of Independence and I was very happy as a student at Maharaja’s College for Women [Government College for Women] and, later, at the University College. While University College was a real university, Women’s College had a vivacious ambience but it was also a serious-minded high school.
Even though my passion was for history, something which I imbibed from my father, I took second group for the intermediate course at Women’s College. My parents said that I must do science practical because they felt that without learning modern science, my ways of thinking would be out of date. I’m extremely happy that they had modern views on education.
I can’t say I was perfectly at home in the science classes. My science marks were just between 60 and 70 per cent, but I stood third in the state in English, which was then a compulsory optional subject. A beautiful old college, the campus was full of cashew nut trees, rows of kattadi trees through which the wind made a swishing sound, a few big mango trees and kunthirikkam trees. Parrots and other birds built their nests on them. In fact, if we lingered late after college hours, it was fascinating to see a variety of birds, especially parrots, flying back to their special trees.
There were around 500 students then, most of them belonging to the upper and middle class families. A majority came to college on foot and there were jhatkas (horse-drawn carts) as well, which were usually parked in front of the college.
Some of our teachers were inspiring and all of them competent. The then principal, Miss Anna Nidheri, the first Indian principal of the institution, was a quiet person. She ruled over us more or less like her predecessor, Miss Watts. I also remember Anandavalli Amma who was a great scholar. But her scholarship was somewhat taxing for all of us because she loved to teach us all that she knew.
The volume of notes she used to give was too much! Then there was Janet Joshua, our Hindi teacher, an exceptional faculty member who always wore Khadi. She was a profound nationalist and admired Gandhiji. She was the only teacher who talked about contemporary events in class.
The Image is the Oath taking Ceremony of the College Union. Prof. B. Hridayakumari, Principal and the College Union Chairperson.