St. Xavier's College, Mumbai

St. Xavier's College, Mumbai

:"This article is about the college in Mumbai. For other schools called St. Xavier's see St. Xavier (disambiguation)"

St Xavier's College in Mumbai, India is one of India's oldest colleges and the city's most famous. In 1868, the first two students of St. Xavier's College came from a group of six, who appeared for the University Matriculation examination from St. Mary's Institution. The college applied for the School's formal recognition in December, 1868, as a College in Arts. Fr. Joseph Antony Willy, the first Principal of the College from 1869 to 1873, and three other Jesuit Fathers actually began to lecture to the two students on January 7, 1869, just before the recognition of the Bombay University was granted on 30th January with retrospective effect from 1st January.

The first three graduates of the College - one joined in 1870 - received their degrees in 1871. Fr. Frederick Dreckmann, Principal of the college from 1884 to 1898 and again from 1900 to 1910 expanded the college both academically as well physically. From the start St. Xavier's has shown a bias towards science and the Director of Public Instruction wrote the following in his report for 1902-1907: "This college which has no equal in the sphere of science devotes special attention to the study of natural history".

The college buildings are made in the indo-gothic architecture style and has been declared a heritage structure. Its unique architecture has been featured in several movies in Hindi and English.

Women were formally admitted to the student body in 1912.

In August 1939, the non-degree course for the Teacher's Diploma (T.D.) was started and carried on until 1955, becoming the St. Xavier's Institute of Education. This Teachers' Training College opened in June 1953; it was accommodated for four years in St. Xavier's College and then moved on to its own building at Churchgate in 1957.

Today offers arts and science degrees. There is also a less prestigious Commerce wing that was started in the 90s that caters to non-traditional students. The college is known for its emphasis on a well rounded education and its strong voluntary academic and extra-curricular activities such as its famous inter-collegiate festival "Malhar".

It is located in the Metro area in the colonial district of Mumbai. The college can be easily accessed from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Marine Lines railway station.

History and mission

St. Xavier's College is named after St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit saint of the 16th century who traveled to India. The College was founded by the Society of Jesus, a Christian religious group started by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. Since its inception, the Jesuits have toiled in the field of education, among other things, and were even called 'the school-masters of Europe' at one time.

St. Xavier's College is a Catholic institution, which strives to form men and women, especially Christians, to build a more just and humane world. The intellectual endeavour it strives for focuses on critical and creative thinking with the aim of social transformation. This endeavour is inspired by the values of the Gospels - from the New Testament of the Christian scriptures - while it appreciates and promotes all the other religions, especially the rich religious heritage of India.

The Society of Jesus manages the college through a Governing Body, whose chairman is the Provincial of the Bombay Province of the Society. The vice-chairman of the Governing Body serves as the Rector of the college, while its Secretary and Chief Executive is the Principal. Currently Fr. Paul Vaz SJ is the rector of the college, and Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas SJ is the Principal.

Accreditation and assessment

Since January 30, 1869, St. Xavier's College has been affiliated with the University of Bombay. It is accredited by the University with the task of preparing students for degrees in Arts, Science and Commerce. In 2007, the collge was awarded the highest rating A+ in the re-accrediation by the NAAC, an autonomous body linked to the University Grants Commission of India. INDIA TODAY magazine report on colleges has rated it high among the top 10 colleges in India. In the June 2000 issue and again in the June 2006 issue, St. Xavier's has been rated the best Arts College in India and the second best Science and Commerce College in the country.

* The National Assessment and Accreditation Council which has just finished evaluating the college, has lauded the following unique features of the college which "enhance the academic ambiance of the institution":

*The Teacher Assessment Questionnaire was introduced in 1968-69. It consists of a specially formulated questionnaire for the students to evaluate their teachers.

Campus Politics

Unlike most other Indian educational institutions, the campus life relatively free from active political life based on established political parties. The Students’ Council started off at St. Xavier’s College as the College Committee in 1943. It was changed to the Students’ Union Council, when the University made elections mandatory in Colleges. However, for the last 20 years, the Government of Maharashtra has banned student elections on campus and the Students’ Council is now nominated by the Principal from among those who apply for the post of student representative. They then choose their own Secretary and other officials. The democratic tradition at St. Xavier’s has always been strong and student initiative and participation in activities on campus has been phenomenal.

Famous Alumni

Famous alumni include Sunil Gavaskar, Zubin Mehta, Charles Correa, Soli Sorabjee, Alyque Padamsee and his son Quasar Padamsee, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vijay Bhatt, Shabana Azmi, Farooq Shaikh,Pankaj Udhas, Rohington Mistry,Kavita Krishnamurthy, Ismail Merchant, G.T. Nanavati, Shobha De, Vidya Balan, Rohit Viswanath, Zakir Hussain, Nandini Gondhalekar, Fleur Xavier, Cyrus Broacha and Rachel Varghese. St. Xavier's also has a modern technologically equipped XRCVC (Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged).

Academic Departments

The college hosts 19 departments in Arts and Science streams catering to 4500-strong student body. In addition it also has a management school (Xavier's Institute of Management:XIM) and a school of mass media (Xavier's Institute of Communications:XIC).

Department of Geology

The department of Geology was founded in 1920. It was home to a lot of scholars in the field of Igneous Petrology and particularly in the field of Carbonatites. Under the leadership of Prof. Sukeshwala, long time chair of the department, the public profile of the department rose significantly among other institutions. currently there are six full-time faculty in the department.

Department of Chemistry

The department was founded in 1931 and currently has thirteen full-time faculty.

Department of Physics

The department was founded in 1894 and currently has ten full-time faculty. Famous alumni include Spenta R. Wadia. The great physicist was responsible for gound breaking work in nonperturbative gauge field dynamics, especially in relation to the (yet unsolved) problem of quark confinement and the relationship between gauge theory and string theory in the field of elementary particle physics, quantum gravity and statistical physics.

Department of Mathematics

The department was founded in 1892 and currently has four full-time faculty.

Department of Zoology

The department was founded in 1976 and currently has four full-time faculty.

Department of Microbiology

The department was founded in 1932 and currently has four full-time faculty. Platinum Jubilee of the Microbiology Department was celebrated in January 2008 as the first undergraduate department of this discipline in the University and in India. Research and action-based collaboration between University of California, Berkeley and the Microbiology Department focuses on ensuring safe drinking water for Mumbai slums. It also hosts an inter-disciplinary course on The Environment and Society, focusing on water resource and use.

Department of Life Sciences

The department was founded in 1978 and currently has nine full-time faculty.

Department of Statistics

The department was founded in 1985 and currently has six full-time faculty.

Department of Botany

The department was founded in 1906 and currently has four full-time faculty. The Botany Department celebrates a Centenary this year and will host a National Conference in November.

Department of English

Shefali Balsari Shah is the head of the department

Department of Economics

Department of Sociology

Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology is headed by Ms. Maureen Almeida. Other faculty include Mrs. Ruby Pavri and Mrs. Geera Kalanji.

The dept. conducts an annual seminar in psychology, which focuses on a different theme each year. Students are encouraged to conduct and present extensive literature reviews and field studies at the seminar.

Prominent visiting faculty and individuals from related professions are invited to speak to students from time to time.

Department of History

The Department Of History is headed by Dr. Fleur D'souza. The Department organises Heritage walks and has a annual journal called the "Aitihasik"

Department of Hindi

Department of Political science

Department of French

This department was founded in 1901. Currently it operates under the leadership of Alpana Palkhiwala.

Department of Ancient Indian Culture

This department was founded in 1892. Since 1926, it is attached to the Indian Historical Research Institute founded by Fr. Henry Heras S. J. This campus institute was renamed to the Heras Institute after the death of its founder. The academic aim of this institution is to promote Historical and Cultural Research in India aimed at strengthening an Indian identity especially among the marginalised sections of Indian society. It fosters study and research in the fields of Indian History and Archaeology, Indian Art and Literature, Indian Religions and Indian Cultures.

The institute and theacademic department host the Heras Museum for Research in Indian History and Culture. In addition, the institute is responsible for the Historians' Workshop in Research Methodology for Post-graduate and Research Scholars, the Heras Research Programme for under-graduate college students, the Heras Memorial Lectures for scholars and the general public, and the publication of the Research Journal INDICA for Indian and Foreign Scholars and Institutions

Organisations and programmes

Research organisations

* Started as the Indian Historical Research Institute in 1926 by Fr. Henry Heras the institute acquired the name of its founder on his death in 1956. 'The Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture',has a specialised Research Library and a Museum containing artefacts from Ancient and Medieval periods in Indian history. It provides guidance and facilities for post-graduate research in the fields of Ancient, Medieval and Modern Indian History, Indian Art and Literature and allied areas. The institute publishes an internationally acclaimed journal - INDICA

*The Social Science Centre inaugurated in 1980,now renamed Xavier Institute of Social Research (XISR)focuses on regional and applied research on issues of social concern.

*The Caius Laboratory for Inter-Disciplinary Research, named after the late Fr. J.F. Caius, SJ, established in 1947 for the purpose of carrying out drug research. It provides services to all science departments.

*The Nadkarny-Sacasa Research Laboratory opened in July 1972, is a well-equipped laboratory for research in Organic Chemistry. It attempts to link research with industry.

*The Blatter Herbarium started at the end of the last century with a very large number of plants collected by the late Rev. Ethelbert Blatter, SJ, his associates and students. It has the largest collection of plants in Western India. It provides facilities for the study of Plant system and has a well stocked library.

Teaching programmes

*The Honours Programme introduced in 1985, in order to challenge faculty and students to go beyond the syllabus.

*The Learning for Life Programme, started in 1980, in order to offer students courses which they could choose voluntarily outside the usual syllabus and lecture hours.

*The Evening Commerce Section, started in 1988-89, for the economically disadvantaged, to provide an opportunity for working students to improve their prospects in life.

Other organisations

*The Department of Inter-Religious Studies, inaugurated in 1987 to foster an understanding and appreciation of religions and thereby to contribute towards communal harmony and national integration.

*The Indian Music Group, founded in 1973 by Father Lancy Pereira, then Principal of the college and two ex-students, Mr Chandu Kapadia and Mr Yusuf Gandhi to promote Indian Classical Music in the city, especially among its young people. This forum promotes Indian classical music, among some students and other interested citizens. The organisation is very popular among the students who have been queuing up to be its volunteers. The organization, since its inception has been supported by noted performers by Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and others. The organization also runs the Britannia Music Room, which holds some of the oldest and rarest recordings of Indian Classical Music in its library of 2500 hours of music. The IMG organizes a large number of programs, including music appreciation courses but its flagship event, Jan Fest, is the one that brings the IMG all the attention it deserves. Over the last 31 years, the IMG's Jan Fest has featured maestros from the world of Hindustani and Carnatic music such as Ustad Alla Rakha Khan, M.S. Subbalakshmi, Pandit Malikarjun Mansur, Kumar Gandharva, Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, D.K. Pattamal and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

*The Counselling Centre, founded in 1954, offers the following services: psychological counselling, inventories on better personal and social adjustment, personal evaluation tests, testing programmes for vocational purposes, information on careers and professions etc.

*The Social Service League, started started as informal gathering in 1940 in order to promote adult education and prevent child delinquency. It was formally founded by Fr. M.M. Balaguer in 1951. A voluntary organization made up of student members concerned about socially relevant issues, it manages several projects around the city and beyond. The SSL is managed by the Principal as Chairperson, the Director and a committee of four student members – General Secretary, Asst.-General Secretary (2) and a Treasurer. Each of the projects has two project secretaries who see to the running of that particular project under the help and guidance of the executive committee. Project Care is special two-day camp held in the month of December for about 100 socially disadvantaged children from selected institutions. During the Diwali vacations, a ten-day rural camp is organized in one of the villages in Ashagad for the students. Manual work is the main activity of the camp.

Other programmes

*The Social Involvement Programme introduced in 1996, as an attempt to add a social component to education.

*The Inter-Collegiate Cultural Festival, [Malhar] is held every year since 1979 in the month of August. It provides a platform to young Xavierites who learn to manage and organize a heavy duty festival that receives crowds numbering more than 20,000.

Other facilities

*The Fell Gymkhana, named after the late Fr. J. Fell, S.J., furnished with equipment and facilities for body building and recreation for staff and students. Fr Joseph Fell, on whom the Gymkhana is named, was a Poet, hostel superintendent, librarian, choirmaster, photographer, and college magazine editor who pushed the students to athletic excellence with his humor and generosity. The Gymkhana celebrated its golden jubilee in 2004. Cricketers Rusi Modi, Polly Umrigar, Nari Contractor, Sunil Gavaskar, Ashok Mankad, Ramesh Nagdev and Milind Rege, hockey Olympian Leo Pinto, sprinter Dr Owen Pinto, Olympic swimmers Eric Mansoor and Adi Balsara, and Billiards great Michael Ferreira are just a few of the famous St Xavier's alumni who benefited from this unique institution. The college also maintains a cricket pitch and ground facilities in Parel.

*The Smith Centre for Audio-Visual Instruction (SCAVI) inaugurated in 1979 and the Multi-Media Room (MMR) in 1997.

*The 'Xavier's Villa' in Khandala is a historic property nestled in the hilld of Western Ghats about two hours from Bombay that provides retreat space for students for academic conferences and events away from the main campus.

External links

* [ St. Xavier's College, Mumbai Official Website]
* [ Malhar's Official Website]

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