From the Sands of time

Principal Santi Kumar Mitra

Professor Santi Kumar Mitra's academic attainments had been uniformly brilliant and outstanding. He was a student of the Scottish Church Collegiate School from 1920-1924, in which year he passed the Matriculation Examination securing a Government Scholarship and winning from the School the Dux Gold Medal, awarded to the best student of the year. He was a student of the Scottish Church College from 1924 to 1930. He graduated with a First Class Second Honors in Sanskrit in 1928 and was awarded the much coveted Hawkins Gold Medal as the most distinguished student of the year. After securing prizes, gold medals and scholarships during his undergraduate studies, he Passed his M.A. in Sanskrit, standing First Class First in Group 'A' and winning University Gold Medal and prize. He got a first division in Law also. As a student, Prof Mitra took a leading part in the students organization of the college and was a very active member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade and the Guild of Welfare.

Prof Mitra was appointed a Lecturer in Sanskrit in the Scottish Church College on July 14, 1931. He became a senior Lecturer on July 1, 1946, a Professor on June 1, 1949 and the Head of the Sanskrit Department on June 1, 1956, which post he held till February 29, 1972. Sri Mitra's academic attainments coupled with his sober dealings and genial temperament gave him from the start a reputation as a teacher, a reputation that grew more and more through years of his service in the college. He was deservedly respected and liked by his students and fellow-teachers.

Prof Mitra was elected a Senate member for five times, was the Finance Secretary of the college for more than eight years and Senate Secretary for a number of years. He was appointed the Vice-Principal of the college on 11.05.70, which post he held till 15.02.72. He was appointed the Acting Principal twice, once from 01.06.70 to 30.09.70 and again from 01.07.71 to 15.10.71. He was appointed the Principal of the college on 16.10.71. Professor Santi Kumar Mitra was the first and probably the only Hindu principal in any Christian Instituition in India's history and perhaps in the world , which speaks volume for his academic knowledge, depth and acumen.

The Council of Scottish Church College, Kolkata ,appreciated very much the commendable manner in which Sri Mitra carried on college administration so arduous, so exacting at a time when he held two posts simultaneously viz. that of the Vice-Principal and that of the Acting Principal. It took special note of the very heavy and nerve-racking job that he had to perform during the Naxalite movement when, in spite of repeated outbursts, he did not give in but rose to the occasion and held the fort with commendable success and ultimately pulled the college out of the fire. His day to day fight in those days against tremendous odds could not unnerve him and with the assistance and full co-operation of both the staff and the students, he braved the storm as best as one could do under the circumstances. His loyalty to the college was manifest in the long hours he spent on college administration.

An ideal teacher, an able administrator under the most trying and exacting circumstances, and above all a gentleman, in every sense of the term, Prof Mitra endeared himself to and won the love and respect of all by his sweet words, pleasing manners, genial temperament and dignified demeanour.

The Council wished a long, prosperous and peaceful life of retirement to Prof Mitra, who retired after putting in more than forty one years of devoted and splendid service to the Scottish Church College. In appreciation of the long, devoted and distinguished service of Principal Santi Kumar Mitra, the Council of Scottish Church College designated him as Professor Emeritus from 01.01.1973. The Santi Kumar Mitra Memorial Prize has been instituted by the Scottish Church College in his memory which is given to students securing the highest marks in Sanskrit in the final year of graduation from the college.