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The Book Bank of Vivekananda College is a big hit for needy students - GetBengal story

25 November, 2023 10:03:57
The Book Bank of Vivekananda College is a big hit for needy students - GetBengal story

Book Bank of Vivekananda College, Thakurpukur

It is a harsh truth that pursuing higher studies is still a dream for many, as many still cannot afford the books and materials required for their chosen course. These students often choose to not pursue higher studies. Due to such circumstances, a lot of talented students do not get the chance to prove themselves in academics and are forced to choose other paths in their lives. To stop these students from turning away from academics and to help them out with this problem, Vivekananda College, Thakurpukur, has created a Book Bank for such needy students.

Vivekananda College, Thakurpukur

Many would say that libraries are there to help such students to get their required books. But book banks are a little different than libraries. Book banks provide the students with books throughout the semester without any cost. According to college authorities, more than 200 books have been distributed to the students by them. By the joint initiative of the college authorities and students, the Book Bank has been given shape within the college premises. This initiative was taken by them in 2014, but after the COVID period, demand for this Book Bank increased a lot. Not only the college authorities but the professors, staff and alumni of the college have also come forward and contributed towards building the book bank by donating books and funds for its creation. Currently, there are almost 3000 books in this book bank. Slowly the number of books in the book bank is increasing. Presently, the students of the Vivekananda College have been given the responsibility to look after the book bank. A team of 15 to 20 students has been given the duty to maintain the book bank.

Vivekananda College, which was initially known as Barisha College, had its origin in 1950 under the Dispersal Scheme of the State Government to ease the pressure for admission of students to the Colleges in the Calcutta Metropolis with the influx of people from the then East Pakistan, present-day Bangladesh. It was first housed in Barisha High School and later shifted to its newly built premises close to the school compound in 1953. It was then an Intermediate College. In June 1956 the College was sponsored by the State Government with its upgrading as a degree College and in the same year it was also brought under the Refugee Education Scheme of the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Government of India, with the State Government retaining control over it. Afterward, it was at this time that the College was christened Vivekananda College after the sacred name of Swami Vivekananda - the great patriot and social reformer, an eternal embodiment of the soul of India and a great inspiring force behind the making of modern India.

The rapid increase in the number of students was felt and due to the lack of accommodation, it was again shifted in 1959 to its new spacious premises at Thakurpukur with an extensive campus area of about 6.17 acres of land where the present college buildings were constructed with Capital Grants received from the Rehabilitation Ministry, Government of India. The original college building at Barisha made room for its Women Section, which in 1961 became a separate independent college with the name 'Vivekananda College for Women'. 

Vivekananda College has already earned a reputation as one of the premier institutions of higher education in the State of West Bengal. Amongst its makers, the foremost name is of Late Dr. Sushil Kumar Ray, D. Sc. - its Founder and Principal. With the present roll strength of about 5000 students, 87 teachers, and 67 non-teaching employees, the college is running in two shifts - Day and Morning, both co-educational.

Utsha Mondal, an ex-student of Vivekananda College, said, “Growing up, I had to buy a lot of books as I was doing my Bachelors in Political Science. I have seen many of my classmates who were not able to afford as many books. I have always helped them in some way or the other. I provided them with photocopies of the important and recommended chapters so that they did not have to buy the whole book. After I passed out, many juniors were in touch with me and I kept helping them with whatever materials I could provide. But a few months ago, due to my job, I had to go out of Kolkata and I was not able to help them as much. I could not carry all the books with me to my workstation. This is where the book bank comes in. When I visited Kolkata, I donated the important books to the book bank which is now maintained by the students’ team. The juniors can readily access those books without any problem and I am more than happy to see these less fortunate individuals being happy to pursue their chosen subject. This fills my heart with joy.”

This initiative by the Vivekananda College shows that even today people come together to help each other. More such initiatives can help bring light to the lives of such economically backward people and help them achieve their dreams more easily. The motto of Vivekananda College is “Tamasso Ma Jyotirgamoy”, which says “from darkness, lead us to the light” in Sanskrit – a true manifestation of it is being witnessed.

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