Century-old institutes dot Taj City

Many may dispute Agra’s claim to modernity, but when it comes to great and grand educational – infrastructure more than a century old – the city’s record remains unchallenged till date.

It’s not just the medical college which started as the Thompson School of Medicine or the Mental Asylum now called Mansik Arogyashala, that came up in the 1850s.
Agra boasts of a dozen other educational institutions that have sent out streams of talented people who have promoted the country’s intellectual heritage.

The oldest convent in Asia, started in 1842 by six nuns of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary founded by Claudine Thevnet, continues to groom homemakers with highly cherished traits in great demand in the matrimonial market.

St Joseph’s Inter-College in the neighbourhood also boasts of a hoary history. In 1846 was founded the St Peter’s College by the then Agra Archdiocese that had its sway over half of India right from Tibet to the southern end of what is now called Madhya Pradesh.

“When people from other towns, our relatives visit us, we never fail to take them around to our schools and always the reaction is a wide-open mouth: 'Oh my god, how much space and what grandeur, something to be really proud of, especially when you compare them with modern-day match-box like structures of schools’,” said Mukta Gupta, a former student of St Patrick’s College.

A teacher of Baptist College said: “Our class-rooms are big and spacious with high ceilings, big verandahs, long corridors and open spaces all around unlike some of the modern schools which look like kabootarkhanas.”

The St John’s College on Mahatma Gandhi Road is often mistaken by foreigners as the Red Fort.

As the mother institution, the RBS Agriculture College provided trained hands for both the Pusa centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in New Delhi and later the Pant Nagar University - both centres of excellence in the sector. Among others who passed out of RBS are former ICAR head Mangla Rai.

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