Sanskrit College is an Institute of Higher Education and one of the affiliated colleges of the University of Calcutta. A traditional college that specializes in the scholarship of Indian tradition, philosophy and religion,
with undergraduate programs in philosophy, history and other humanities subjects, it is located on College Street (now renamed Bidhan Sarani) in central Kolkata. It’s centrality is heightened by its proximity to Presidency College, Kolkata, which is located on the other side of the road. It was established during the Governor-Generalship of Lord Amherst, based on a recommendation by HT James Prinsep and Thomas Babington Macaulay among others.
Mahamahopadhyay Pandit Mahesh Chandra Nyayratna Bhattacharyya, C.I.E., the eminent scholar of Sanskrit was the principal of the college for over 18 years. He was a Companion of the Indian Empress (C.I.E.), and a member of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire.He played a crucial role in Bengal’s educational reformation. He revived the “Tol” system in Sanskrit education, and introduced titles or “Upadhi”.
The institution rose to prominence during the principalship by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 1851, who admitted students from other than the brahmin caste. In particular the tol or traditional Indian training school model was incorporated as a department in the 1870s. In the pre-independence era, it was one of the finest seats of academic excellence in matters pertaining Eastern philosophy, ancient Indian history and ancient Indian languages like Pali and Prakrit. It is particularly well known for the contribution of its faculty and students in the social, cultural and religious transformation in nineteenth century Bengal in what came to be popularly regarded as the Bengal Renaissance. In terms of scholarship and intellectual output, it contributed hugely to enriching the knowledge of ancient Indian society and interpretation of ancient Indian texts.
Bimal Krishna Matilal was a teacher here from 1957 to 1962.