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The Vision and Hope of Swami Vivekananda
Addressing the public of Madras on 14th of February 1897, on the topic "The Future of India", Swami Vivekananda said:
"Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs roit there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library. If education is identical with information, the libraries are the greatest sages in the world, and encyclopedias are the Rishis. The ideal, therefore, is that we must have the whole education of our country, spiritual and secular, in our hands, and it must be on national lines, through national methods as far as practical. Of course this is a very big scheme, a very big plan. I do not know whether it will ever work out. Young men of Madras, my hope is in you. Will you respond to the call of your nation? Each one of you has a glorious future if you dare believe me. Have a tremendous faith, in yourselves, like the faith I had when I was a child, and which I am working out now. Have that faith, each one of you, in yourself that eternal power is lodged in every soul and you will revive the whole of India."
Education is not merely filling the brain with information that may remain undigested. Education should bring in all-round development of the students and make them worthy citizens of country.
The Hope Materializes...
The sight of hundreds of deserving young candidates denied education due to limited number of good colleges caused a desire in the minds of some public-spirited people to open a first grade college in the city, and that the college be called VIVEKANANDA COLLEGE, after the great patriot-monk and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Vivekananda College: Inception
On an auspicous day of 21st June 1946, Swami Kailashanandaji Maharaj, the then President of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai ceremoniously inaugurated the College. On 1st July 1946, the Professor, Philosopher, and President of India-to-be, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan formally inaugurated the College and dedicated it to the cause of quality education.
So, Vivekananda College began its humble march with 20 teachers and 339 students with the prime motive of imparting man-making and character-building education and combining the principles of secular knowledge and spiritual knowledge. The college then offered just 4 undergraduate courses.
Ramakrishna Mission puts its seal
Those public-spirited gentlemen who founded the College turned over to the Ramakrishna Mission and entrusted the College to Mission's loving concern and nurturing care.
Thus, the ideal of Vivekananda College has been education with a difference, admission policy without any prejudice, and administrative procedure without baised preferences. No wonder, the College has blossomed into a Temple of Learning. The close and continuous interaction between the monks of the Mission and the College has steadily helped it mould itself on the lines of Swami Vivekananda's Vision.
Down the Decades
What began with just five rooms with an area of 5000sq ft in 1946 can today boast of a Main Block, Brahmananda Block, Shivananda Block, a Mathematics Block, Life Sciences Block, a Sanskrit Block, a Obul Reddy Auditorium Block, a Library Block, and a Sports Complex. The College has quite spacious rooms for Theory and Practical classes. The College has a lush green turf cricket ground, tennis courts and a gymnasium with state of the art equipment. It also has well-equipped computer laboratories and internet facilities.
Man-making and character building are the bricks and spiritual and patriotic education are the mortar of this edifice; but it began with a strength of 20 teachers and 339 students. Today the College has on its rolls no less than 3000 students in 11 Graduate and 7 Post Graduate programmes in the day college.
Monks of erudition, experience and vision have headed the Managing Committee. Swami Kailashanandaji Maharaj, President, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, was the first President of the Managing Committee. Eminent Academicians and scholars, scientists and mathematicians of global repute have been the Principals of the College.
The Silver Jubilee of the College was celebrated for three days from 11th September 1971. The Celebrations were inaugurated by the then President of India, Sri V V Giri, and Sri K K Shah, the then Governor of Tamil Nadu, Swamis Kailashanandaji and Tapasyanandaji and Sri V R Nedunchezhian, the then Education Minister of Tamil Nadu participated.
The Golden Jubilee of the College was a serene function held on 23rd June 1996. Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj, President of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, inaugurated the celebrations.
Since 2002, the College offer degree programmes in plant biology, and plant biotechnology (as against conventional botany course), advanced zoology and biotechnology (in place of the zoology course).
The Academic Year 2005-2006 saw the completion of sixty years of service by Vivekananda College and it was decidedto have a year long Diamond Jubilee celebrations starting from the National Youth Day on 12th January 2006. A series of meetings with Alumni and Staff were held in this connection.
The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Celebrations comenced with fervour with the inauguration by Dr. M.A.M.Ramswamy, Hon'ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Pro-Chancellor, Annamalai University and an alumus of our College. Sri T. S. Naraynaswamy, Chairman and M.D. Indian Overseas Bank and Sri S. Gurumurthy, Columnist (both alumni) gave keynote and special addresses respectively. Internatinal and National level seminars were organized by different departments of the College as part of the Celebrations.
A two day Exhibition titled ENRICH 2006 was arranged during 6th and 7th October 2006. Different departments organized special lectures as part of jubilee bringing people known for their achievements, to inspire our youngsters. Drama Festival was held as part of jubilee at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, for 4 days from 10.8.06.
The valedictory was slated during September 2007. A staffday was arranged on 21.8.07 in which most of the retired and serving staff members were presented with thier family members wherein special mementos were presented to the staff present, followed by a special lunch.
The year long Celebrations culminated wtih a weeklong programme during 7.9.07 to 12.9.07. High profile dignitaries, both from the Government and non-governmental organizations partication in these functions. These included three governors from Chattisgarh, Tamilnadu and Kerala. The highlight of these programmes was that many of the dignitaries were alumni of the College. Apart from the addresses by these dignitaries, each day ended with a carnatiusic programme, all the performers being leading carnatic artists and also alumni of the College. The occasion was also graced by many monks of the Ramakrishna Order from various branches in India. An exhibition of old photographs of the events of yesteryears was also arranged.
The Academic Stride
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College is one of the very few colleges that still caters to higher and advancred studies in subjects like Philosophy and Sanskrit. The College has a reputation for maininting exemplary discipline in the campus and for achieving consistently high standards of academic performance.
Based on Swami Vivekananda's principle of combining science and spirituality, this college, while offering courses of study which would enable the students to make a decent living and stand on their own feet, also caters to the total needs of a student in terms of his personality development. "The ideal of service of man in the spirit of worship of God as a way of manifestation of one's own divinity and the idea of the class room as a place of workship of the divine sparks in the students by the blazing fire of divinity in the teacher through the imparting of knowledge and counselling" is stressed in this college. The various programmes offered in the college aim at this holistic approach.
Swami Vivekananda’s Philosophy of man-making education forms the basis and directive principle of our course–content. The syllabi of our courses have been framed with a view to mould the character and skills of the students and to enable them to become good, productive and dutiful citizens. At the beginning of every semester the faculty prepare a lesson plan. The lesson plan is perodically reviewed for ensuring its implementation and necessary changes are made whenever required.
The Day College, affiliated to the University of Madras, is offering courses of study in various disciplines under the autonomous scheme leading to B.A., B.Sc., B.Com., M.A., M.Sc., M.Phil., and Ph.D degrees.
It offers five under-graduate courses in Humanities and Languages, five in Physical and Natural Sciences and one in Commerce with two sections.
Post Graduate courses are offered in three Humanities and four Sciences disciplines.
The departments of Botany, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Economics, Philosophy and Sanskrit offer research programmes.
The College supplements the lecture method of teaching with other learner centered teaching methods such as interactive participative dialogue, participation in seminars, quizzes, group discussions, debates, language skill development programmes, visits to premier institutions of advanced learning, audio visual programmes etc.
The College through its foundation courses in English and other languages and the training and guidance provided in writing, reviewing and presentation on various platform trains the students in a holistic manner.
Students of the College haul in honours both in academic and in co-curricular activities. University ranks in academics and University blues in sports are a handsome number. More than half the faculty are doctrates. Many faculty have taken part in International seminars in different countries. Some have been visiting professors at foreign universities. There is international recognition for the departments and academic-industrial interface has a healthy history.
The College has a reputation for maintaining exemplary disclipline in the campus and for achieving consistently high standards of academic performance.
In 2003, the institution was accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, New Delhi. The college was granted autonomous status to all undergraduate and postgraduate courses up to M.Phil, by the University Grants Commission, in 2004-2005. With the conferment of autonomy, the College is striving its best to impart holistic education rather than mere academic knowledge and skills.
The College has strong Industry-Institute link with companies like SPIC, Amurtanjan, HP etc.