People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 35

August 30, 2009

 Students Force US Consul General out of Serampur College

 

From Our Correspondent

IN yet another demonstration of the strong anti-imperialist feelings of the students community in West Bengal, students of Serampur College in Hooghly district protested on August 17 against the presence of the US consul general at a seminar to commemorate the 249th birth anniversary of William Carey (1761–1834), the missionary who had founded the college.

On the day, at about 8 in the morning, when the US consul General Beth Penn arrived in the college on the principal’s invitation, students of the college felt startled by the fact that an agent of the imperialist US was going to be present on such a historic occasion in the college which produced many martyrs during the freedom movement. Thus they spontaneously began to protest against the unilateral decision of the college principal and the presence of the US consul general in their college, finally forcing the diplomat to take shelter in the principal’s quarters.

The protesting students’ shouted anti-imperialist slogans and took to the streets, virtually laying a siege on the principal’s quarter. In the meantime, when the police came to the college premises to stop the students’ agitation, college vice principal Amal Kumar Dutta and the several staff members came in support of the agitating students. They told to police that the principal has not even informed the governing body and had unilaterally invited the US consul general to the college. Meanwhile the students also wore black badges and showed black flag to the consul general.

The vice principal told the police that any use of force was unwelcome it would mean that “you are also supporting the US imperialists.” The police thus refrained from applying force on the unarmed agitators. By then, the non-teaching staff and many professors joined in. Ultimately the US consul general said with folded hands that he would convey the anti-imperialist feelings of the students community there to his higher authorities, and had to the leave the college campus in police escort.

It is worth mentioning that Serampore College is one of the oldest seats of modern education in Bengal. In July 1818, Carey, Marshman and Ward published the prospectus of Serampore College and in 1819, Carey established the Serampore College, the first institution to impart the western style higher education in Asia.