The year was 1898
– a lean built man all of 5 feet 5 inches dared to do something which was unheard of in the orthodox British-ruled India of that time. Most fundamental rights were denied to Indians and more so to the women. Atrocities like Sati rites, child marriage, dowry, and ban on widow remarriage were prevalent. Due to the Pardah system, most women were forced to stay within the four walls of their homes. Education was denied to them. In fact, educated women were considered a threat to the society. Most girls were married off before they reached their teens so the question of sending them to school never ever arose.
But in spite of all these odds, Late Dr. Surendra Nath Sen had a promise to keep. A promise made to his dying mother to champion the cause of women’s empowerment through education.
Being a person of very high social standing, (the only qualified doctor from the renowned Calcutta Medical College in and around Kanpur in those times), he could break into the circles of influence to spread his new revolutionary ideas but to change the beliefs of masses (mostly uneducated in those days) was really the more unachievable task. He personally went to each and every house of the city of Kanpur (then known as ‘Cawnpore’ or the ‘Manchester of India’ because of the large number of cotton mills) to request people to send their daughters to this school set up by him in the safety and homeliness of his own courtyard .
With the enrolments shooting up, in 1914 the school was shifted from his courtyard to a field across the road from his house as a proper Anglo-vernacular middle school for girls. In the year 1922, a massive building began to come up on that field which was formally opened by His Excellency Sir W. Sinclair Marris, Governor of U.P. & Oudh, on the 9th of March, 1925.
Post independence, when the country was collectively looking to build up a new ambitious India, women too were looking ahead of just secondary education into higher education. Thus, S.N. Sen Degree College was founded in 1953 by Dr. Siddheswar Sen, son of visionary Dr. Surendra Nath Sen.
The College got affiliated to the Agra University in 1957. The post graduation classes began in the same college from 1985.
Towards the late 1970s, when higher education for women was not just about becoming a more eligible and sought after bride but a means to leading a financially independent life, there arose a need for not only higher education but career-oriented education or vocational courses that would ensure a job. This was the time when Mr. Samir Kumar Sen, grandson of visionary Dr. S.N. Sen, founded this Nursery Teachers Training Institute in memory of his late father Dr. Siddheswar Sen, in association with Late Mr. R.A. Gupta. This training institute marked the beginning of widening of our focus from only academic learning institutions to academic-cum-vocational learning institutions.
After over a 100 years of contribution to the field of education and emancipation of women, we now wish to take our efforts to every corner of India to fulfill the promise made by visionary Late Dr. Surendra Nath Sen to his mother.