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Fergusson College
Motto Knowledge is Power-DES:Union is strength
Established 1885
Type Public Co-ed
Chairperson Deccan Education Society
Principal Principal
Dr. R.G. Pardeshi
A B Bhide
PM Pawar
Dr. NM Kulkarni
Dr. ND Bhalerao
Rekha Palshikar
Faculty 246
Staff 130
Students Junior Wing: 2400
Senior Wing: 4550
Location Pune, Maharashtra, India
Affiliations Pune University
National Cadet Corps
National Service Scheme

Fergusson College (FC) is a degree college in western India, situated in the city of Pune. It was founded in 1885 by the Deccan Education Society and at that time was the first privately governed college in India.[1] It is named after Sir James Fergusson, the Governor of Bombay, who donated a then princely sum of Rs 1,200. Since 1948, the college has been under the jurisdiction of the University of Pune and is the oldest college affiliated to it.[2]

The college has two sections; The Junior Wing of the college is for students passing out of school. Courses are offered in Arts and Science streams, at the end of which students may appear for the Higher-Secondary State Certificate examination. The Senior Wing offers Bachelors Degrees in 29 disciplines and Masters Degrees in 16 disciplines, spanning electronic and computer sciences, languages, humanities and social sciences. The college also offers doctoral and vocational programs.[3]

Fergusson College is known for its close association with Indian Politics. Its founders were amongst the pioneers of the Indian National Congress,[4] as well as Hindu Nationalism,[5] and the Indian Socialist Movement.[6] The college has produced, amongst several ministers and legislators, two Indian Prime Ministers.[7][8][9]

The 65-acre (260,000 m2) campus of the college is located in the heart of the city. It provides athletic and cultural facilities, as well as residential facilities for more than six hundred students and faculty.[10]





After the Revolt of 1857, Indian luminaries of that period saw a pressing need to modernise the education system to fight against British imperialism by democratic means. Stalwarts in the Indian independence movements such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadev Namjoshi put their collective efforts into the formation of a modern school for their countrymen. The result was The New English School in 1857. Boosted by its success, the Deccan Education Society was formed in 1884 and a year later the Fergusson College was founded. An area of 37 acres (150,000 m2) of land were donated for one rupee on a 99 year lease by Shirole, the erstwhile Patil of Bhamburde (Shivaji Nagar). The college was inaugurated by William Wordsworth, the grandson of the famous poet and principal of Elphinstone College in Bombay. Other leaders such as R G Bhandarkar and M G Ranade played an important part in the construction of the college.[11] The British Government in Bombay allowed the college to remain autonomous, giving it a free hand in education.

In 1935, the College completed fifty years of existence. Sir CV Raman, India's only Science Nobel laureate, was the president of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. He quoted in his speech,

… Standing here today, I feel that history has been written in Poona- history of self-help, history of self-reliance, history of great and constructive national effort- that history has been written in Poona, has been written on this very spot …

. Mahatma Gandhi, in a message to then Principal Dr. Mahajani wrote,

Who will fail to be enthused over the noble record of the service rendered by the D. E. Society and the Fergusson College to the cause of education?[12]
Lokmanya Tilak was amongst the founders of the college


Post 1947, Fergusson College has produced several leaders in the fields of politics, academia, literature and art. (See list below) Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India's first president, was the chief guest of the platinum jubilee function. He said on this occasion,

The Fergusson College was established at a time when the attitude of the Indian masses towards higher education of the western type was yet in a formative stage and when facilities for such education for the generality of Indian students were inadequate… It was an enterprise, which benefited the Nation without offending or alienating the then rulers of India. Fergusson College is the foremost fruit of that effort.[13]

In 1985, the college completed its centenary. Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime minister was the president of the ceremony. PV Narasimharao, India's 12th Prime Minister and former student, quoted,

This college, born like a twin of the Indian National Congress, has always kept abreast of the country’s history. It has produced political leaders of all hues of the political spectrum including ultras and infras, if I may say so, administrators, eminent scholars, researchers, writers, sportsmen and many other categories of celebrities, which any country can be proud of,[14]

Dr. VM Bachal, former principal of the college is presently writing the history of Fergusson College. This history will be published in two volumes the first of which is expected to be ready by January 2010.

Association with Indian Politics

Fergusson College has been given many epithets by political leaders, including 'cradle of Indian polity' and 'twin of the Congress'.[14] The seriousness of these metaphors has been evidenced by the fact that the college, since its inception, has had its fate deeply intertwined with that of Indian Politics.

The founders of Fergusson College, most notably Tilak and Gokhale were amongst the leaders of the Indian National Congress in its early stages from 1885 to 1920. In fact, most historians divide the history of the INC into two eras- the Tilak Era and the Gandhi era.[15] The college has produced as alumni, notable Congress leaders including Vishwanath Pratap Singh and PV Narasimha Rao, Jivatram Kripalani and Babubhai J Patel. (See comprehensive list below)

Bharatiya Janata Party, modern India's antithesis to the Congress, adheres to a blended ideology of Indian Nationalism and Hindutva. The former traces its roots to Tilak,[16] and the latter is synonymous with the name Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who was one of the first alumni of the college.[17]

Amongst the founders, Agarkar and Namjoshi were early Socialists of Maharashtra.[18] Alumni such as Vitthal Ramji Shinde, S M Joshi, and Nanasaheb Gore were eminent socialists, both inside and outside the Congress fold. The Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, founded to fight for Maharashtra's statehood, included several alumni such as Prahlad Keshav Atre, SM Joshi and Gore.[19]

Fergusson is the only institution in India to have amongst its alumni two Prime Ministers.[7][8][9]


Fergusson College

From the 37 acres (150,000 m2) leased out by Shirole, the erstwhile Patil of Bhamburde in 1881, the college expanded to 65 acres (260,000 m2) by the time of Independence.[20] The road that runs along the college is named after it and is one of the busiest in Pune. The campus extends until the slopes of a hillock, popularly called Fergusson Hill. Several educational institutions are situated around the hillock. The college is largely built in accordance with the Victorian school of architecture, although it has some glimpses of Gothic and traditional Indian styles as well.

Main Building and Departments

The Main Building is situated at the inner entrance of the college. Built entirely in Victorian style, this two-storey structure houses the central office, as well as the principals' chambers. The Statistics and Psychology Departments lie to the east of the main building; and the Economics Department to the west. The computer science and the life science buildings are also located to the west. On the southern side, the RP Paranjpye building, along with the Pittie Chemistry building, Botany, Zoology, Geology, Electronics and Physics departments are located. The building overlooks the central garden to the north and has two lecture halls and the staffs' chambers. The college in all has fifty-five laboratories and fifty-one lecture halls.

NM Wadia Amphitheatre

This three-storeyed amphitheatre building, located to the west of the central garden, has Victorian-Gothic influences. Apart from several lecture halls, the building houses an auditorium with a capacity of one thousand persons.

Bai Jerbai Wadia Library

Bai Jerbai Wadia Library was built in 1929 by eminent industrialists Sir Cusrow Wadia and Sir Ness Wadia in memory of their mother. The Main Library on the ground floor has more than 3,00,000 books and research journals.[21] Many research scholars and book-lovers have, over the years, donated a large number of their own personal collections; the Library has become rich in its collection. The library provides extension services to students, teachers, scholars, research workers and senior citizens including scholars from abroad. The entire first floor (the floor above the ground floor) of the Library serves as a Reading Hall for students and is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate around 400 students at a time. The floors above this floor are not publicly accessible without prior arrangement and house various books, manuscripts and articles of historic and cultural importance. The library also has of a collection of statues and posters, dedicated to outstanding national leaders and educationalists. In the course of time, with an increasing number of students, the Library felt the need to acquire more space by extending the building. This was first done in 1955, with government grants and then in 1982 with grants from the Central Government.


Kimaya is an open-air theatre on the north side of the campus. It was conceived by litterateur and alumni PL Deshpande on his return from a visit to Japan. It is a popular student hang-out and most of the students' activities are held there. It encompasses elements of modern architecture and is built without beams. It has eight walls fused together, which function as trusses.

Botanical Gardens

The 2-acre (8,100 m2) Botanical Gardens in the campus were founded in 1902 by a teacher, Professor Shevade. It is known for its medicinal plants and wild ferns. Botany students from the college planted various specimens here, including Elaeocarpus, Araucaria and Mahogany. 1961, the garden was destroyed when the nearby Panshet dam was breached. Years later, it was reinstated by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the Association of Herbal Drugs and Deccan Education Society. Some of the plants that will find root there include Saraca Indica (Sita Ashok), the bark of which is used to heal skin diseases and as a tonic; and Terminalia arjuna, the extract of which is used to treat jaundice.[22]

Gymkhana and Grounds

The College has a strong sporting tradition and has nurtured athletes who have gone on to compete at the national and international level. Cricket, hockey and football are played on the main ground which has an effective drainage system, enabling play during monsoon. Two asphalted basketball courts are located next to the main ground. A second ground, situated to the south, has courts for volleyball and handball; as well as facilities for Indian sports like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and Mallakhamb. Services for Badminton and several other Indoor Games are also available, and the Gymnasium Building provides training for boxing, wrestling, judo, weight lifting and yoga. The college also has an array of tennis courts on the eastern side of the campus.

New Academic Complex

The new academic complex was built in 2004 at the northern end of the campus. Unlike the other buildings, it is designed in a modern functionalist style. It houses the Junior College and the DES Law College.


For students, there are in all six hostel blocks, 4 blocks for gentlemen and 2 blocks for ladies. The total intake capacity of the hostel is 587 students. The gents hostel blocks are located to the north of the campus and the ladies hostel blocks lie to the east of the campus. The College has some quarters for the faculty and staff of the college and also for employees of other DES Institutes. The spacious bungalows, built on the old British design, near the main gate and the ladies’ hostel gate, have a colonial-era charm. The Principal of the college resides in an independent bungalow at the main entrance of the college. Some members of the teaching staff have also been provided with residential facilities on the campus. This facility includes independent bungalows. There are also some flats constructed with financial aid from the UGC.

Awards and Rankings

In 2004, Fergusson College was awarded an 'A' grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)[23] . The College also received the "Best College Award" amongst the colleges affiliated to the University of Pune in the academic year 2004-2005.

Fergusson College has consistently ranked amongst the top ten arts and science colleges in India for the past twelve years in the annual survey conducted by India Today-AC Nielsen-ORG-MARG and published in India Today, one of India's leading magazines.[24][25]

Year Arts Rank Science Rank
2009 10 7
2008 7 7
2007 - 9
2006 8 6

Notable alumni

A partial list of notable alumni is given below:


The majors offered are as follows.


  • Economics Masters PhD
  • English Masters
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hindi PhD
  • History
  • Logic
  • Marathi Masters
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology Masters
  • Sanskrit
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Music


  • Botany PhD
  • Biotechnology Masters
  • Chemistry Masters
  • Computer Science Masters
  • Electronic Science Masters PhD
  • Environment Science Masters
  • Geology Masters
  • Mathematics PhD
  • Microbiology Masters
  • Physics Masters PhD
  • Statistics
  • Zoology PhD


  • Vocational Still Photography & Audio-Visual Production
  • Vocational Electronic Equipment Maintenance
  • Vocational Biotechnology
  • Master of Computer Applications
  • M.Sc.Tech (Industrial Mathematics with Computer Applications)

Student Activities

National Cadet Corps

The National Cadet Corps in India is a voluntary organization which recruits cadets from high schools and colleges. The Cadets are given basic military training in small arms and parades. Cadet training began in Fergusson College in 1921 with the University Training Corps unit which had two platoons. In 1926, the UTC strength of increased from two to three platoons. In June 1930, one platoon of the College of Engineering was transferred to the Fergusson College and since then Fergusson College enjoyed the privilege of contributing full company- α Coy and was reputed as The Best Drilling Company.

There are two units of NCC in Fergusson College- Army wing and Navy wing In the Army wing, cadets are trained by the representative of the Armed forces at the junior and senior level. They are seen as future officers or army personnel or as possible reserves in the case of national emergency. In the Naval wing, cadets are trained as per the naval rules and discipline at the senior as well as on junior level. They are also considered as reserves, second in line of defence in case of the national emergency. Apart from these, the open units in the college are Girls Wing, Air Wing, Signal Wing, Armed Squadron and Medical Wing.[26]

National Service Scheme

NSS is a community service program sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India. The Motto of the NSS is ‘Not Me But You’, and its objective is developing the personality of the student through Community Service. The NSS Unit of Fergusson College was started in 1975 with about 50 students. Presently the NSS Unit consists of about 200 students from senior college and 100 students from Junior college. The activities of the NSS are to help the students understand community, their relation with community, National Integration, and Social problems.[27]


Fergusson College is host to a number of academic and extracurricular events. The Cultural Committee organises events such as Muktachhanda, which showcases performances, and cultural programs of a non-competitive nature with the maximum participation of students in the organisation of the (usually 3-day) event rather than in the actual performances and Oorja[28] which features competitive events in various cultural fields. Apart from such cultural events, there are also academic events such as the various department festivals. Most undergraduate departments of the college organise such events.

Department Event
Geology GeoFest
Computer Sci. Calyx
Economics Wall Street
Zoology Zoovolution
Chemistry Alchemy
Physics Physikia
Microbiology MicrobioMics
Biotechnology Chimera
Electronics Electra
Mathematics Sankhya
Photography Photosync
Psychology PsyFi
Philosophy Tattva
Environmental Science Gaia
Economics Wallstreet


It includes contributions from students. The photography department, with contributions from current and former students, also brings out an e-magazine, Fergzine.[29]

See also


  1. ^ History of Foundation
  2. ^ The two colleges founded in Pune before FC (Deccan college and CoEP) are autonomous institutions not affiliated to Pune University
  3. ^ Courses
  4. ^ Founders BG Tilak, GK Gokhale were early leaders of the INC
  5. ^ BG Tilak and VD Savarkar (one of the first alumni) are considered the fathers of Hindu nationalism
  6. ^ Founders GG Agarkar and MB Namjoshi were early socialists in Maharashtra.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ a b See P. V. Narasimha Rao
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Accommodation
  11. ^ History
  12. ^ Gandhi
  13. ^ Prasad
  14. ^ a b Narasimha
  15. ^ Tilak Era
  16. ^ Tilak
  17. ^ Savarkar
  18. ^ Socialists
  19. ^ Samyukta Mah.
  20. ^ Shitole lease
  21. ^ Library
  22. ^
  23. ^ NAAC
  24. ^ Arts '06-08
  25. ^ Science '06-08
  26. ^ NCC
  27. ^ NSS
  28. ^
  29. ^

External links


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