The Making of a Tradition.... St. Joseph's College and Institutions.

A Historical Sketch

St. Joseph's College in Bangalore, India, stands today, solid in it's imposing stone mass, lofty in its height, with a silver dome on top, commanding a place of priority in the field of education. Together with its sister Institutions, the St. Joseph's College of Commerce, the St. Joseph's Evening College, the St. Joseph's Boys' High School and the St. Joseph's Indian High School, the St. Joseph's College caters to the needs of more than 5000 students on its rolls, ably assisted by over 150 members of Staff. The Institution which in itself exemplifies a tradition, consists of four main buildings which are located in the prestigious center of the Cantonment. The St. Joseph's College is situated in the vicinity of St. Patrick's Church and the Good Shepherd Convent. The need for instituting a College of this magnitude in Bangalore was felt by the catholic Missionaries and it was the vicar apostolic of the coramandel coast, the Rev. Dr. Bonnand, who propounded the idea, in 1841, in a letter to Rev. Fr. Bertrand. Complying with the order, the Foreign Missions Society of Paris bought a plot of land on St. John's Hill and gradually made the transition to the location it occupies today.

The Cantonment of Bangalore could now boast of an Educational Institution that would cater to the needs of the students, just as that venerable Institution, the Central College, was doing for the Bangalore City area.

Originally set up in 1882 because of the salubrious climate and strategic position of Bangalore and the need to administer education to the small Catholic Community, comprising about 1000 Europeans and 5000 Indians, the College has lived up to expectations of its motto: 'Faith and Toil', and has in fact rendered immeasurable service both to the country and mankind, in turning our students who have achieved success in every walk of life. To attempt to enumerate the successes of the College, both academic and otherwise in a futile task and one that would require a separate volume by itself. Perhaps the words of His Highness Shri Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar Bahadur G.C.B., G.C.S.I., on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of the College, in 1958, will be some measure of the far-reaching influence of the College: "founded and fostered for over half a century by the zeal of the fathers of the foreign Mission society of Paris, the Institution has now been for twenty years (in 1982) under the able management of the fathers of the society of Jesus. Christian Missions have achieved a place of permanent honour for themselves in the history of educational development in our country in the last hundred years. St. Joseph's College is an impressive memorial of the labours of these two Missions in the field of our national progress".

Till now, only the positive contributions made by the College have been mentioned, in the form of its students to the service of the country. But who can ever attempt to gauge the services of those noble sons who laid down their lives for the country? On the occasion of the unveiling of the war memorial on 24th November, 1921, LT.C.R.F. Standage, who presided over the function, speaking of those who had lost their lives said; "we salute their memory in respectful silence and we envy them their preferment". In the span of one century, 1882 - 1982, the College has seen the destruction and turmoil wrought by two World Wars and the War of Independence in India, which cost her the lives of so many of her Alumni.

On the South Eastern spur of Auvergne Mountains, in the small town of Langeac, France, a visionary was born in 1948 who was to fulfill Dr. Bonand's dream, seven years earlier, of a Catholic College in Bangalore. Maurice Vissac, a true highlander, reflecting in his muscular frame and tenacious character, the asperity and solidity of the steep rocks overlooking his home was the Founding Father of St. Joseph's College, Bangalore.

The success of the College, can be attributed to the interplay of vision and action that caused a desert to produce the greatest fruits of the earth, the education and nurture of the human mind. The Foreign Missions Society of Paris, spurred by the dream of Rev. Dr. Bonand, bought a plot of land on the virtually uninhabited quarter of land known as St.John's Hill, for a sum of Rs.1000. Here a group of seminarists under Rev.Fr.Bouteloup built the St. Joseph's Seminary in 1854 at the cost of Rs.3000. The Seminary was also to serve as an orphanage and a boarding School. The year 1858 witnessed the arrival of the first European boarders and the opening of the first classes for European boys in St. Joseph's Seminary a few months after the founding of the Madras University, under the direction of Rev.Fr.Charbonnaux. A brief entry in Dr.Charbonnaux diary records the fact "we decided to open a School for the European boys. As a knowledge of English is necessary to our Indian pupils and that of Canarese to European boys, we determined to build a wing and a kitchen adjoining the Seminary". A wing and a kitchen in the compound of St. Aloysius's School..... Now crumbled to dust, ... These are all the buildings of which St. Joseph's could boast when it came into being in the memorable year 1858.

The St. Joseph's Seminary of 1858 was a comprehensive Institution which served a three-fold purpose as Seminary, Orphanage and Boarding Establishment. One is unable to state whether the amalgamation of Indians and Europeans, and again that of Seminarists, Orphans and Boarders made for concord and prosperity, but the progress of the St. Joseph's College is closely connected with the separation of these heterogeneous elements. The "ancients" in the Mission favoured union; the "moderns" on the other hand, had insisted on the division of labour and classes. T.S.Eliot has remarked that "each venture is a new beginning" and it is perhaps the recognition of the validity of this statement that caused the "moderns" to reassert their ideas and thus gain their first victory. This took place after the St. Joseph's Seminary had struggled through the first seven years of its existence. However, they had to face strong opposition form the ancients as can be inferred from the following extract from Dr.Charbonnaux' diary: "contrary to reiterated orders, Fr.Clemot proceeded with the building of Chapel instead of hastening to complete the new house we needed for our orphans and boarders. I decided to send him to Madagundanapally and give his place to Fr.Coadou". In may 1865 the new house, on the site of the present Bishop's house was ready to receive the Boarders and Orphans. The total cost of Rs.16,000 was defrayed as follows: Rs.7000 by the Mission, Rs.5000 by the Madras Government, Rs.500 by the Mysore Government, Rs.500 by Mr.Bowring and the remainder by various Subscribers. "the building is fine but not solid". Wrote Dr.Charbonnaux. "I pray to god that its preservation may not cause me as such anxiety as its construction". These apprehensions were not unfounded; nothing is left of the building but two dilapidated wings at the back of the Bishop's House in 1982. The Seminarists were not free to live their own life of prayer and study without the fear of any intrusion upon the peace of their retreat. Separation went one step further when in 1875, our orphans were sent to St.Patricks's Orphanage, and our Boarders were left in sole possession of that fine but shaky pile of building on the site of the present bishop's house. Thus the three widely different classes of boys, which has been placed at first in the same house and under the same direction, had secured their autonomy.

St. Joseph's Seminary ............though it had long ceased to be one, the name still clung to it ......numbered 64 boarders and 80 day scholars. But the able educationist who was destined to make it one of the leading European Colleges in Southern India was about to take the reins of Government into his hands.

A Progressive Rectorship

When Rev. Fr. Maurice Vissac was appointed Rector, he was thirty four years old, endowed with a robust constitution, a powerful mind, and remarkable tenacity of purpose. When one looks at his portrait in the parlour, the broad chest and shoulders, the set face and stern look make one feel at once that they are in the presence of a strong man. The strength and solidarity of his mind are reflected in all the buildings that he planned, in the broad square pillars of the College verandahs and still more, in the huge pillars destined to support the dome of the new St. Francis Xavier's Church. Characteristic solidity did not exclude versatility, for the gifted professor excelled alike in Mathematics, Science, History and Literature. He was also regarded as a forcible speaker and no mean Linguist and Musician. He even found time to train a College Band. In those heroic times which the moderns so lightly run down, St. Joseph's had a Band to brighten its festivities and to promote concord and harmony between teachers and boys. With these exceptional talents and an almost unlimited capacity for work, Rev. Fr. Vissac entered upon his life's work in 1882.

With the accession of Father Vissac to the Principalship in 1882...........a year memorable in the annals of the College and engraved deep in the memory of Old Josephites....., The clouds of doubt and mistrust rolled away and the College, breaking off the shackles which had impeded its progress, set out on a career of prosperity.

When Rev. Fr. Vissac took the reins of Government into his hands, St. Joseph's had no pretensions to the pompous name of College, but it was designated by the modest appellation of Seminary. The first act of the new Principal was to get it affiliated to the Madras University as a Second Grade College. In 1884, the College was overjoyed at the success of its first two F.A's, Rev. Fr.Mascarenhas, the popular Assistant Chaplain of St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Mr. O'Sullivan.

The Shift to a New Campus

St. John's Hill, with its bracing air, quiet look and scattered bungalows hiding amidst green foliage in smiling gardens, combined the pleasures of town and country, but it was isolated on the North end of the City. It was now the ambition of Rev. Fr. Vissac to transfer the College to the heart of the Cantonment in a spacious compound next to the Madras Bank and in the vicinity of the Good Shepherd Convent and St. Patrick's Cathedral (later it was called "Church" as St. Francis Xavier's Church became the Cathedral, the Seat of the Bishop of Bangalore) .

The old School buildings were deemed insufficient and the foundation was laid of a new edifice not unworthy to accommodate the students of a full-fledged College affiliated to the Madras University.

The foundation of the new College was laid in 1894 and it is remembered how, when class was over, Rev. Fr. Vissac, walking stick in hand, would hurry away at a brisk pace to watch the progress of the building and quarrel with Rev. Fr. Barre, who superintended the work, about a wall, a new door or a window. The new building rose and was noted for its light colonnades and classical Corinthian capitals.

On December 8th 1894, the corner stone of a different but no less important foundation was laid when the first Brothers of the Immaculate Conception took their vows in the College Chapel. They have rendered and are still rendering invaluable services and no account of the work of the Educational Institutions in Bangalore or of the Foreign Mission Society in Paris would be complete without a reference to their labour of love.

It was the belief of Rev. Fr. Vissac that the St. Joseph's College must be second to none and to impart a sound English training, Rev. Fr. Vissac was determined to have English Graduates from the first English Universities. The very year that the foundations of the new College was laid , Rev. Fr. Froger and Rev. Fr. Schmitt had entered upon their University Course and their returned with the Degree of London M. A.

The new College was opened in January 1898 with a 100 Boarders and 89 Day-scholars. Towards the end of the second term the plague made its appearance in Bangalore and created a panic, so that in 1902, the total number of European boys, both Boarders and Day-scholars, had dwindled to 157. Rev. Fr. Viassc's health was shattered by twenty years of unremitting toil and he laid down the Rectorship.

Curiously enough the last important building designed by Rev. Fr. Vissac carried further the very policy of which he had been the strongest adversary and completed the separation of the heterogeneous element of which St. Joseph's College originally consisted. In 1904, the Indian students occupied a substantial two-storied structure with spacious verandahs where the ubiquitous form of Rev. Fr. Aucouturier, Principal of the Indian Section was seen gliding along like a vigilant sentinel on his endless rounds.

In the twenty years of labour, Rev. Fr. Vissac had turned the obscure School he had found struggling for existence, into the popular St. Joseph's College which so many successful Old Boys are proud to call their Alma Mater. He had built two spacious Colleges, and........what is far more important...... he had, by his example and tact, trained an efficient and self sacrificing staff. Rev. Fr. Vissac will forever be remembered as the Founder of St. Joseph's College.

Growth and Development

The recognition of St. Joseph's College as one of the leading European Schools in India, can be attributed to the progressive Rectorship of Rev. Fr. Frogers, between the years 1903 - 1913, and 1915 - 1916.

Of the many improvements brought about by Rev. Fr. Frogers, none is more gratifying than the raising of the tone of the College. Rev Fr. Frogers concept of education could be aptly described in Alexander Pope's words: "Tis education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined".

The Rector's first care was to form the character of his boys and to educate the heart and will as well as the mind. His large-hearted sympathy and genuine enthusiasm soon brought about a vast improvement; mutual esteem and goodwill knit masters and boys; higher ideals come into vogue, and manliness, loyalty to the College and courtesy, together with an inexhaustible store of cheerfulness and gaiety, became the characteristics of Rev. Fr. Frogers' boys.

'Fide et Labore' is the motto that Rev. Fr. Frogers gave his boys, with an artistic device consisting of a cross and two bees on the wing in quest of honey. Long before the College song called upon the College to "unfurl the flag of Faith and Toil", it was throbbing with life and industry.

In 1904, a swarm of full fledged bees flew from the mother bee-hive when the Indian section was separated from the European section, to gather they honey in friendly rivalry under their own queen, in their own hive.

The year 1910 saw the adoption of the High School Scheme, which was quite an improvement on the old Matriculation, as it exacted a higher standard of English composition and encouraged personal, intelligent work. A year before, the Intermediate Arts had superseded the old F.A.

Literary activity received great impetus under Rev. Fr. Froger's patronage. A new stock of attractively bound storybooks was bought and on Saturdays and Sundays, the eager bookworms fell to devouring the adventures of Henty or Stevenson. A debating Society was started and the young orators delivered extemporaneous speeches to a most responsive audience. On the Christmas of 1910, the Annual went on its first errand to make the merriest day in the year still merrier for the boys and their parents. Several times a year, dramatic performances, which were prepared with faultless taste as to scenery and get-up, offered to the actors an excellent training in elocution and drew out the aesthetic talents of artists. The stimulating effect of this many-sided activity was seen in brilliant results at the Public Examinations. There were two functions to which the Rector attached the greatest importance with the view to promoting a healthy spirit of emulation.... the public reading of the results of the Quarterly Examinations in the Hall in the presence of all the Masters, and the Prize Distribution when he appeared in full academic dress with the cap and gown of the London M.A.

But none knew better than Rev.Fr.Froger how to pass from grave to gay, and if there was a soft corner in his heart it was reserved for the College athletes. He looked forward to the Inter School Sports and Tournaments with as much eagerness as players, and when the day came at last and the eleven went to uphold the reputation of the College, his tall figure was to be seen at the point of vantage, and his eye kindled as if he regretted he was not a boy again to plunge into the fray.

Though it is quality and not quantity that counts, a sketch of Rev.Fr.Froger's work would be incomplete if it did not notice the growing popularity of the College and the large increase in the number of its boys. The Annual reports read at the Prize Distribution state that there were 100 boarders and 57 day scholars in 1903, and 239 boarders and 183 day scholars in 1913. More boys meant more accommodation. Two new wings were built the "new field" was bought and drained; and the new hall and stage were adorned with exquisite taste.

The secret of Rev. Fr.Froger's success is to be found not only in his talents and winning personality, but also in the trust that he placed in his boys. He believed in their sense of honour and their immense capabilities for good, and he taught them to use their liberty of obey their conscience more than their master's voice, and to dread wrong more than the punishment with which it may be visited. Under this mild and elevating role, hearts and minds expanded and put forth their best qualities like flower in the morning sunshine.

St. Joseph's Indian High School

The growth of the Institution, the Indian High School, which is one of the most remarkable features of the development of St. Joseph's may be said to date from 1907. In that year, the students were removed from the stuffy little cellars in which the classes had been held to the beautiful three-storied building that runs parallel to Museum Road. The Rev.Fr. Blaise was its first Principal from 1904 - 1912. He clearly saw the proportions that this humble beginning would soon assume. The bee-hive cellars buzzing with life convinced him of the necessity of taking steps to accommodate his ever increasing numbers. This problem of accommodation became more and more acute when the Rev. Fr. Aucouturier took over charge in 1912, but his ingenious brain soon found a solution. adjoining the European High School there stood the 'Thornley Bank Building'. They were the property of Rev. Fr. Froger but this did not matter. Friends in need are friends indeed, and the good Rev. Fr.Froger could be persuaded to part with it, and he was. With a Government grant of Rs.30,000, Rev.Fr. Vissac's plans, Mr.Yates's warm support and Rev. Fr. Aucouturier's indefatigable zeal, a magnificent building soon arose on the ruins of Thornely Bank. Rev.Fr. Aucouturier's chef-d' oeuvre, it will ever remain to commemorate his name.

From 1912 to 1926, Rev. Fr.Aucouturier worked tooth and nail for his Institution. The well-equipped laboratories for Physics and Chemistry, the well-stocked library and the attractive little museum bear ample testimony to his efficiency and his zeal. It must be admitted that pioneering works is never easy and Rev. Fr. Aucouturier had not simple tasks before him. He was a man with a cast iron construction, hardy as his countryman; he was indifferent to food, dress and criticism; and he went ahead in most determined fashion with the result that success crowned his efforts.

Mr.Devadhen, as old boy of the College writes "The Rev.Fr. Aucouturier finds his monuments in the noble and towering halls of learning he has built on the secure foundation laid by that noble soul, Rev. Fr. Vissac". It may be said of Rev. Fr. Aucouturier that he hardly touched any subject that he did not made interesting and instructive. Although he was a Frenchman and unaccustomed to teaching English, he found time in the midst of his multifarious duties to master the vagaries of a language as fitful as it is rich.

In 1926, Rev. Fr. Michel succeeded Rev. Fr. Aucouturier and till 1927 ably carried on the work. As his health, however, failed him, he was obliged to return to France. From his departure till Rev. Fr. Cyril Browne took over charge in 1928, Rev. Fr. Veysseyre acted as Correspondent and Mr.Ramakrishna Iyer as Headmaster of the School.

Like the other sections of St. Joseph's, the Indian High School, goes on its silent forward march in the manner of the busy bee, which is their emblem. The pioneering work over, it remained for the successors of Rev. Fr. Blaose and Rev. Fr. Aucouturier to attend to the minor details of the School's requirements. A spacious hockey and football ground about four acres in extent with a hostel attached, was acquired two furlongs away from the School. The incentive given to sport helped the School to complete with the best teams of the Civil and Military station of Bangalore, and not without success. Several trophies have been secured for hockey and football. The holding of sports has now become an annual function. An Old Boy's Association was instituted and the enthusiasm with which all Old Boys respond to the call of their Alma Mater is consoling proof of their attachment to their old School. The School Hall now boasted of a stage on which little plays were enacted from time to time. The boys had their Debating Society, and a Scout Troop and been organized. In the backyard, which was not very attractive, two halls for manual training had been erected.

Fortification despite the Privations of War

The reins of Government were taken over by the Rev. Fr. Leo Vanpeene, on the death of Rev. Fr. Froger. Born in Dunkirk and educated in Lille, he was destined to carry on the forward march of St. Joseph's. He came to Bangalore in 1908 and was directly attached to the College. His first appearance is remembered in the Study Hall by many. His tall figure, his stately bearing and his serious demeanor did not require the rod to maintain discipline. To the little minds before him, he seemed born to command and it was whispered in several quarters that he had been sent out to take the place of Rev. Fr. Froger. A splendid disciplinarian, a great musician, a good mathematician and a still better logician.....nothing seemed wanting to fit him for the post. Rev. Fr.Vanpeene however had no easy task before him. when he succeeded Rev. Fr. Froger in 1916. The Great War had already taken its toll and deprived the College of the valuable services of Rev. Fr. Schmitt and four of the Irish Brothers who promptly responded to the call. No new blood was likely to come out from Paris for some time and some of the old heads shook as Rev. Fr. Vanpeene crossed the Rubicon. But the hardy North is never baffled by difficulties of any kind. In spite of financial stringency, insufficient staff and human eccentricity, he struggled to maintain the noble traditions of St. Joseph's for 8 long years. We might quote two lines from E.A.Smith's poem 'Fide Et Labore', written in July, 1932, to substantiate Rev. Fr. Vanpeene's effort: "Who's armed with Faith before and Toil behind. A priceless gain......... a Heav'nly Crown..... dowth find".

The results of the Public Examination during his period of office speak for themselves, while in the sphere of sports, the College stood second to none. The stirring notes that ring out the Battle Call of Duty owe their conception to him, and his generosity presented the School Choir with a beautiful Mustel organ...... the outcome of personal savings during his Rectorships. The Old Boys of the Institution will ever remain grateful to him for having taken steps to set their association on a permanent basis and the present boys will always remember him for the fine cricket pavilion of which the School is so proud. It was during his tenure of office that the fruitful seeds of the present First Grade College were sown , and although Re. Fr.Vanpeene's services were transferred to St. Patrick's Cathedral, his presence in the midst of the inmates of the College will be remembered as a sourse of strength in the maintenance of the high ideals so beautifully rendered in the College Song. He is still spoken of today at St. Patrick's Church, as the Chaplain that one could not take lightly. He would stand on his beautiful Pulpit and give his sermon, and woe to anyone who came late, he would stop mid-sentence and scold the offender for the late intrusion. The beautiful Pulpit and Bishop's Chair have both mysteriously vanished from St. Patrick's Church after his passing away.

Comprehensive Expansion:

A measure of first rate significance was taken when the Intermediate classes were detached from the High School of which they had been an appendage from the time of the affiliation to the university of Madras in 1882. Obviously, there could be no considerable development of College work without separate and suitable accommodation. In 1923, the Intermediate Classes were removed to the top floor of the Indian High School, were they were housed pending the completion of the present handsome structure, and the Rev. Fr. J.B. Argaut was appointed the first Principal of the College under the new conditions. Successful application was made for affiliation to the University of Madras in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, with the result that the numbers on the rolls immediately rose. One of the strengths of Rev. Fr. Argaut, who had all the energy required of a pioneer in work of the kind under consideration , was that he looked ahead, and he was determined that B.A. classes should be opened. More difficulties than one confronted him, but he overcame them. The present College building on Residency Road was finished and occupied in 1925; an Inspection Commission appointed by the University of Madras visited the College early in 1926; and students were admitted to the B.A. Degree Course in July. Rev. Fr. Argaut, who left for Europe about the middle of the year, will always be remembered for his vigorous and successful efforts in connection with the expansion of Intermediate work and the commencement of classes under the B.A. degree Course.

It was now the boast of a large number of old students that their Alma Mater could receive a boy in one of the primary classes, and send him into the world , as a full fledged graduate of one of the oldest and best regulated Universities in India. The Rev. Fr. F. Veysseye, who was appointed in September 1926, as the first principal of St. Joseph's College as a first grade College, conducted the management with conspicuous ability and success, until he handed over charge to the Rev. Fr. H. Prouvoust on the 23rd of May 1932, to proceed to Europe under medical advice. Rev. Fr. Veysseye was not slow to realise and to meet the many and varied requirements of a first grade College. The numbers on the rolls, the successes in the University Examinations and the amounts spent on the Physics and Chemistry furniture and on Physical Training and sport, bear ample testimony to the development which the College underwent and the progress it made during the six years of his Principalship. He established a Provident Fund for the twenty three lay members of the College Staff, and in his last address to the students , indicated his intention to institute an Old Student's Association. In twenty five years the number of students on the rolls had risen from 20 to 337, inclusive of 27 lady students. During Rev. Fr. Vanpeene's principalship, 74 students passed the B.A. degree Examination of the University of Madras. Of the number 13 were lady students, including 5 nuns. He was regarded by both Staff and students as an ideal principal, a sympathetic friend and one who was always ready to lend a year to those in need. His great aim, an aim which he may well be said to have realized, was to unite Staff and students into one happy family and while maintaining a high standard of discipline, to make the most junior member of the Staff and the latest admission among the students feel that they had as important a stake in the Institution as the Principal or the Senior Professors.

Society of Jesus Takes Over

The year 1937 saw the end of a chapter and heralded the beginning of a new one . This new chapter began on the 1st June 1937, with the blessing of His Lordship, Bishop Despartures. By an agreement between His Lordship, the Bishop of Mysore and the representatives of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus in India, the management of the College was transferred to the Society of Jesus with effect from 1st June 1937.

The old Brigade of Rev. Fr. Prouvoust, Quesquiner and J. B. Freeman left and their place was taken by Rev. FRs. Ambruzzi (Rector and Principal), D. Ferroli, Wigney and Airoldi. Rev Fr. Cyril Browne continued with the new set up for sometime.

At the transition, the College Campus consisted of the one imposing main building put up in 1925 and it provided sufficient accommodation for the limited number of 350 students on the rolls. Soon, however, there was a great cry for increased admissions and diversification's of course offered in the College. The Management therefore had to undertake a programmed of expansion.

The very first improvement that exemplified the fact that St. Joseph's College was aware of the Chinese proverb: "Be not afraid going slowly, be afraid only of standing still" was the planning and execution by the year 1938, of the erection of the Astronomical laboratory atop the main building. It was a difficult enterprise undertaken by Rev. Fr. Airoldi, designed and built by Mr. T. S. Narayan Rao. In addition to being a unique feature of scientific significance of any College in South India........ perhaps the whole of India...........the observatory with its imposing dome gave a distinctive appearance to the building and made it a landmark in Bangalore.

The observatory has a 5 inch refractory telescope equatorially mounted, a siderial clock and another 3 inch telescope adapted for solar observations. Along with the astronomical laboratory, there was a also installed in a small room built for that purpose at the northern end of the building a "Vicentini Seismograph" and a polarographs. While the telescope would reveal the depths of the sky the seismograph would delve into the depths of the earth. The College Annual of 1938 observes "to the average student every thing is a closed book, except his text books. Thus his outlook is narrow and his scientific interest non-existent. It is to remedy in some way, this state of affairs , that an observatory is being installed in the College."

The next phase in the mushrooming growth of the College was the building of the Chemistry laboratory facing the main building. It was completed in 1939 and provided the Intermediate classes with a spacious and well-equipped laboratory. Later on, in 1945, another floor was added to this building to provide a similar laboratory for the B.Sc. classes.

In 1940, Rev. Fr. Ambrussi left for Europe and his place as Principal was taken by Rev. Fr. T.Gonsalves. His five years in office coincided with the war years and his task was one of stabilization under difficult circumstances.

Improvement in Hostel Facilities

Rev. Fr. T.Gonsalves was succeeded in 1945 by Rev. Fr.Boniface D'Souza, a man of great vision and energy. Though his first few years in office were post-war years of scarcity and of turmoil in the political sphere, Rev. B.D'Souza embarked boldly on a programme of expansion.

His first care was to provide the increasing number of students from outside Bangalore with a good hostel accommodation. The existing small hostel on Museum Road, - the present Catholic Club.... could, with difficulty accommodate only 35 students. With a grand of Rs.50,000/- from the Government and a few donations from parents and past students, the construction of the new hostel in a corner of the College playground on Lal Bagh Road was begun in 1947 and completed and occupied in June 1948. The semi-circular buildings, as distinctive in its architecture as the other College buildings, had a hundred and twenty single rooms and four large halls, one of which was a Chapel. Two of these halls were later converted into cubicles, thus augmenting the accommodation to a hundred and eighty.

In 1949, the changed political scene and the re-organization of states was mirrored by the severing of the long-standing ties with the University of Madras and getting the College affiliated to the University of Mysore. Later, when the Bangalore University was carved out from the Mysore University, St. Joseph's naturally came under the jurisdiction of the newly constituted University of Bangalore as a constituent College in 1964.

Biology and Commerce Sections

The decade of the fifties brought about a new drift in education. At about this time ... 1950 ... commercial education was gaining in popularity. It was but natural that St. Joseph's should provide the facility to gain a degree in commerce. Accordingly, with the approval of the University, a Commerce section was added to the last year Intermediate Arts Course. The students had to face an uphill task, as there was no room for them in the main building. Classes were begun in once of the rooms of the old hostel on Museum Road. They began with none of the facilities that were due to them as students. The trials, however, did not last long as some place was found for them in the College building.

By the beginning of the year 1952 - 53, the strength of the Commerce section had grown to 200 and they could no longer be accommodated in the main building. The entire section of four classes was therefore moved to the halls in the hostel on Lal Bagh Road. This too was a temporary measure as the management had already acquired a plot of land opposite the hostel across Langford Road, with a view to putting up a building there for the Commerce Section. Construction was begun early in 1952 and the building was occupied on October 28th. 1953.

The next phase in the development of the College was the initiation of a course in Biology. The demand for admissions to medical College was growing fast. Admission to Medical Colleges were, however, restricted to students who had passed the Intermediate or P.U.C. with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as Part III. This combination of subjects was not provided by St. Joseph's and there seemed to be no prospect of making a start as there was absolutely no place in the old building for the necessary laboratories.

Rev. Fr. B'Souza, however rose to the occasion and with great perseverance worked for the purchase of a strip of land from the Bishop Cotton Girls' High School. On this plot, a two-storied building was put up behind the old one and parallel to it. With this measure, the College could install laboratories for the Biology Department to enable students seeking admissions to medical Colleges, to be adequately qualified. This took place in the year 1954.

Before Rev. Fr. B.D'Souza could rear this new child and set it on its feet, he was appointed the Superior of the Karnataka Jesuit Mission and the task of giving the final touches to this new building and setting up the laboratories was carried out by his successor Rev. Fr. C.Andrade.

In 1955, the University Grants Commission, in recognition of its long and useful service to the youth of the nation chose St. Joseph's College with a dozen others, all over the country, for an outright grant of a lakh of rupees to be utilised for any suitable development. The management made use of this grant to put up another floor over the Biology block. This enabled the College to have spacious laboratories for Botany and Zoology as well as a good library and reading rooms and additional rooms for classes. It also helped the Natural science (C.B.Z.) group to be extended to the degree classes.

The same year a spacious cycle shed was put up and the quadrangle between the two buildings was paved with granite stones to help keep it clean.

The Diamond Jubilee

It is said that when a mass has reached the sixtieth year after marriage, he celebrates his Diamond Jubilee. St.Joseph's College, however, celebrating the true marriage of faith and toil, had its Diamond Jubilee only after reaching its seventy-fifth year. The celebrations were held in the third week of January, 1958, for four days.

The Reorganization of the Campus

In 1959, the year following the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, Rev. Fr.C.Andrade was transferred to Mangalore and his place taken by Rev. Fr. Elias D'Souza. During his regime, the main building was extended northwards, providing a centeen on the ground floor, a recreation room on the first floor and an additional laboratory for Physics on the second floor. In the same year, a building was put up for the Indian High School in New Field and the Middle School Section was moved there thus easing the congestion on the campus to some extent.

At the beginning of 1967-1968, the College was again confronted with he problem of space for the growing number of students. The University had decided to convert the P.U.C. from a one-year course to a two year one, thus doubling the number of students in the P.U.C. The College had to find room for an additional 650 students.

The existing campus as overcrowded with buildings and nearly 4000 students; 700 in the Boys High School, 1500 in the Indian High School and nearly 2000 in the College.

At this point, suggestions were made to move St. Joseph's to a new and large campus outside the city. Supporters of the idea cited the example of the Bangalore University which had finalized plans to move to a thousand-acre campus, twelve miles outside the city, on the Mysore Road.

The Management of St. Joseph's thought that this was too far-fetched an idea. For one thing, not everyone was happy over the plan of the University to move to a campus far away from the people and educate future citizens in an unrealistic atmosphere. Secondly, the University has almost unlimited financial resources in the form of Government grants. A private College had to depend entirely on its own resources and the goodwill of benefactors. Further, it was thought foolish to give up the central situation St. Joseph's occupied in the city of Bangalore.

The only alternative left was to plan a reorganisation of the campus occupied by three Institutions. This organisation was planned to be executed in two stages. The actual execution of the plan was left to Rev. Fr.C.Andrade, a former Principal, who had returned to St. Joseph's form Mangalore as the Rector.

In the first stage, the building occupied by the Middle School since 1964, was enlarged by the addition of an entire floor over the whole building and extending one wing to twice its original length. This was done at a cost of Five lakhs of rupees. It provided sufficient space for the High School to move in, which it did in January 1970.

The old Indian High School building on Museum Road was handed over to the College to be used as a Junior College. The building was not quite suited to the holding of College classes. The rooms were small, designed to hold 40 to 50 boys and in some cases, access to a class-room was only through another. Further, there was the problem of noise from traffic as the building was situated at the junction of two busy roads. But with a great deal of planning and expense, the interior was so realigned as to provide laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology and some tolerable good class rooms. The building was occupied by the P.U.C. classes in June 1970.

The second stage of the re-organisation was taken up a year later and involved a sum of five lakhs of rupees. In this stage, a boarding house for the Indian High School was built with spacious dormitories, study halls, dining rooms and other facilities.

With this completed, the Indian High School which had so far been dispersed over a wide area... the Middle School in New Fields, the High School on Museum Road, the boarding house on Brigade Road, the Religious Community in the Boys' High School and the playground on Mahatma Gandhi road....now came together to a single spacious campus.

The Commerce and Evening Colleges

In 1966, the University Commission in its report had recommended that a strength of 1500 was sufficiently large for any College. It should on no account be exceeded and that attempts should be made to reduce the intake of students, preferably by developing the Commerce section into a separate College. Consequently, recognition to the Commerce section was given only for three years within which period it had to be developed as an independent College, or admissions to this course discounted.

Therefore, in 1971, the Commerce sections , which had already been shifted to the building on Brigade Road vacated by the boarding house, was constituted as an independent College, Rev. Fr. A.P. Menezes who was the Principal of the College, became its first Principal. Under his able management, St. Joseph's College of Commerce has made its name for itself in curricular as well as in extra-curricular activities. It stands today as one of the forerunners in the field of commercial education in Bangalore.

In a city like Bangalore, inspite of the many Colleges, there are hundreds of young men and women unable to prosecute their studies beyond the High School or the P.U.C. and are obliged to take up small jobs at an early age. To provide such young men and women an opportunity for collegiate study, St. Joseph's in 1968 added an Evening Section in Arts and Commerce. The Seventies, the decade just left behind, will go down in the history of St. Joseph's Evening College, which was , infact, started on 4th July, 1970, as a section of the St. Joseph's Day College of Arts and Science.

The Syndicate of the Bangalore University by a resolution dated 12th June , 1972, approved the separation of the Evening Section of St. Joseph's Day College into an independent Evening College of Arts and Commerce. Classes commenced on 16th June 1972. While the classes of the Evening Section had been accommodated in the Day College Building, the classes of the independent Evening College were shifted to the building it presently occupies on Museum Road.

From small beginnings, the Evening College had grown steadily in number and activities. During the academic year 1979-80, the strength of the College rose to 1250 students. In addition to excellent coaching, which has produced excellent results year after year, special attention has been given to a number of co-curricular activities and training in leadership. Sportsmen have won laurels for the College; N.C.C. cadets have been honoured at training camps; members of Fine Art Society have given good accounts of themselves in painting, music, acting, writing, debating, and quiz competitions; ebullient members of the Social Services squad have made their presence felt inside and outside the camps and have been ministering angels to the weak and the rich, the poor and the less fortunate members of society. The Staff and students of St. Joseph's Evening College have proved by dint of their manifold achievements in their brief history that they too delight in adhering to the motto; 'Fide et Labor'


Academic Landmarks

Before concluding the history of the development of the College through a hundred years, it would be pertinent to place on record some features of special significance in the academic sphere which have not found a place in the narrative.

During the year 1968-69, the University of Bangalore thought it fit to decentralize teaching at the honours level and permit constituent Colleges to start honours courses in such subjects as they could handle efficiently.

St. Joseph's therefore put in an application and obtained permission to start honours courses in Economics, Physics and Botany. 30 students for Economics and 20 each for Physics & Botany were admitted in the first year. It was a challenge to the management financially and to the staff and students academically. That the challenge was met successfully is borne out by the excellent results in the final examinations of this first batch of honours graduates. The course, however, was discontinued by the University after two years.

In the first week of December, 1968, was inaugurated, 'The Hasten Flora Project' of the College. The research project, which began as a small effort by Rev. Fr. C. Saldanha of the Department of Botany, became a joint project of the St. Joseph's College and the Smithsonian Institute of U.S.A. Rev. Fr. C.Saldanha S.J. Ph.D., was the chief Indian collaborator and Dr.Dan.H.Nicholson Ph.D. was the chief American collaborator. The purpose of the project was to clarify the entire flora of the Hassan District in the course of five years. The success of the project and the publication of the results in the book. 'The Flora of Hassan District', prompted the Government of Karnataka to deputy Rev. Fr. C. Saldanaha to made a similar classification for the whole of the State. This project is now under way. Its offices and laboratories are in the Biology block of the College.

Another landmark in the recent history of the College is the initiation of the Post - Graduate Diploma Course in Business Administration. The Education Commission has bemoaned the wide gulf existing in our country between educational industry, between teachers and businessmen. The aim of the course, started in 1968, was to bridge this seemingly insurmountable chasm. Rev. Fr. Rebello, who had just returned from the US with a Ph.D., in Economics, with a great deal of planning and with the co-operation of men from industry and commerce in Bangalore made the course a reality. Though the College had not yet been recognised by the Government, its Post - Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Marketing and Advertising, Materials Management, Production Management and the Management of Small-Scale Industries, has through the past dozen years attracted students from various industries and business concerns. The popularity of the courses offered can be judged from the fact that during the year 1979-80, there were over 500 students on the rolls. (Rev. Fr. Rebello was very much involved with the spread of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Bangalore and India, along with the late Sr. Angela of the Good Shepherd Convent).

Rev. Fr.Leo D'souza, who came to the College after gaining his Ph.D., in Botany from Germany, has in addition to his regular classes in the College, set up a research laboratory in the Biology block, where he is carrying out research on Tissue Culture as a tool for plant breeding, Clonal Propagation of Coconut and Cashew etc.


St. Joseph's College of Commerce, Brigade Road, Bangalore 560 025 Phone:091 80 5570955 Principal: Rev. Fr. Walter Andrade e-mail: sjcc@giasbg01.vsnl.net.in

Obituary Notice

Fr. Francis Rebello, s.j. Founder-Director of St. Joseph's College of Business Administration, Bangalore, passed away in coimbatore on 6th january 1998. He was 68. Fr, Rebello, a former Principal of St. Joseph's Evening College and St. Joseph's College of Commerce, Bangalore, was closely connected with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in India. Funeral will be held on Wednsday 7, at St. Joseph's Seminary, Fathima Retreat House, Mangalore.


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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26



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