As It Has Been Growing

(a brief history of the Students’ Home, drafted by the Founder himself – Swami Nirvedananda)

Where It Stands

Thus twenty-five years of its life have been spent since what may be called is birth in 1916 in the small house at 121, Corporation Street. Since 1919 it has been a branch of the Ramakrishna Mission and a licensed hostel under the CalcuttaUniversity. Since then really it has been a public institution; and it is from this year that its progress has to be measured. From 1919 up to the present day its progress may be said to have been slow but steady. During this period through its General fund, Building Fund and Vocational Section Fund it has received altogether about Rs. 2,44,000/- and spent about Rs. 2,34,000/-. At the last year-end it had a balance of about Rs. 9,600/-, a portion of which lay fixed in the Permanent Fund. Of course, these figures do not show a very prosperous state of things for a public institution. But it compares well with the balance of Rs. 3/5/9 in the year of its affiliation. Rs. 80,672/- have been spent out of the Building Fund. Obviously, this is not much. So many structures have yet to be raised. But against this one has to pit the fact that the Home has, at its disposal, lands that teem with possibilities for future expansion. The Vocation Section has made some progress. Nearly Rs. 22,000/- have been spent out of its fund. Nevertheless a college for vocational training is not yet in view. Though quite a long distance has yet to be traversed, it has to be admitted that from the Jeliapara Lane house to its present premises it is a long way off.

During this period, along with its efforts for expansion and consolidation, the Home has been able to leave a fair record of substantial service. In this connection, one has to remember that during its earlier phases of existence the total number of students under its care used to be very meagre and it was only in 1939 that this number went above forty. Even the present number, forty-eight, of whom twenty-six are free, six part-free and sixteen paying, is quite modest. Having regard to all these, the number of successful students turned out during this period may be said to be quite encouraging. Nearly one-hundred qualified young men, some of whom had brilliant University results, have passed through the Home and scarcely any of them is sitting idle. More than half of these students came from very poor families. Through them at least fifty families have got definite economic lift from a state of abject poverty. From now on, this number may easily be expected to multiply more rapidly and make a solid contribution towards the rehabilitation of poverty-stricken families. Moreover, in the course of this period, the Home has produced twenty monastic workers, including the Secretary. It is gratifying to note also that the Students’ Home idea has spread so many places both in and outside the Mission.

From the outline sketched above one can see clearly how the Students’ Home has been ushered into existence and led from one stage to another by fortuitous combinations of circumstances. The history of this period replete with incidents that point invariably to the fact that behind the scenes, as it were, certain forces have always been active, working out a central design. Behind every event of importance have been found such order, precision and method that leave no doubt of this. Indeed it was by the mysterious urge of these unseen forces that workers, supporters, land, money, in fact everything, came unexpectedly and at the very moment when it was needed most. And again it is to these forces that all achievements in the field of man-making so far made by the Home have to be ascribed. The Divine Will is having its way. Many men have been drawn into the arena and made to work out a portion of its design, each according to his capacity. Some ground has been covered. No one knows how much more has yet to be done. One thing, however, is certain, namely, that all mistakes and shortcomings, that detract from the achievements of the Home during this period, are to be ascribed to the inefficiency of the agents through whom the Divine Will chose to work.

As It Has Been Growing
As It Has Been Growing: Part - 2 [Home in Embryo]
As It Has Been Growing: Part - 3 [Gathering Strength]
As It Has Been Growing: Part - 4 [A Step Forward]
As It Has Been Growing: Part - 5 [On the Way to Permanence]
As It Has Been Growing: Part - 6 [In Its Own Premises]