Fergusson College

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Coordinates: 18°31′26″N 73°50′21″E / 18.523969°N 73.839219°E / 18.523969; 73.839219

Fergusson College (FC), now Fergusson University[2] is an autonomous public college offering courses in the streams of arts and science in the city of Pune, India.[3][4][5] It was founded in 1885 by the Deccan Education Society.[6] Professor Vaman Shivram Apte was its first principal.[7] Social reformer, journalist, thinker and educationist Gopal Ganesh Agarkar served as the second principal from August 1892 till his death in June 1895.[8]

Fergusson College
Deccan Education Society logo badge.jpg
MottoKnowledge is Power
TypePublic Co-ed
AffiliationSavitribai Phule Pune University
ChairpersonDeccan Education Society
PrincipalDr. Ravindrasinh G. Pardeshi[1]
Vice principalsDr. N.M. Kulkarni
Prof. P.M. Pawar
Swati Joaglekar[1]
Fergusson College Road
, , ,

The college is named after Scottish-born Sir James Fergusson, the Governor of Bombay, who donated Rs 1,200. Since 1948, the college has been under the jurisdiction of the University of Pune. In May 2018 Fergusson college was upgraded to a unitary university following an update from Ministry of HRD.[2]

The college has two sections:

  • The Junior Wing is for students graduating from 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 bachelor's degrees in 29 disciplines and master's degrees in 16 disciplines.

The college also offers doctoral and vocational programs.[9]

Fergusson College is known for its close association with Indian politics. Its founders were pioneers of the Indian National Congress,[10] as well as, Indian Socialist Movement.[11] The college has produced, several ministers and legislators, including two Indian Prime Ministers.[12][13][14]

Fergusson was among the 19 colleges to get a heritage tag by the central government and UGC in 2015. The college will receive financial help from UGC for the conservation of campus and buildings.[15] The 65-acre (260,000 m2) campus is in the heart of the city. It provides athletic and cultural facilities, as well as residential facilities for more than 600 students and faculty.[16]


Foundation and growth during British Colonial ruleEdit

After the Revolt of 1857, Indian luminaries saw a pressing need to modernise the education system to fight against British imperialism by democratic means.[citation needed] Indian Nationalists such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, and social reformer Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Mahadev Namjoshi put their efforts into the formation of a school for their countrymen. The result was The New English School.

Boosted by its success, the Deccan Education Society was formed in 1884; a year later Fergusson College was founded. An area of 37 acres (150,000 m2) of land was donated for one rupee on a 99-year lease by Shirole, the erstwhile Patil of the village of Bhamburde (now called Shivaji Nagar) on the west bank of the Mutha river.

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 a part in the construction.[17] The college was named after the then Governor of Bombay, Sir James Fergusson. The British colonial Government in Bombay allowed the college to remain autonomous, giving it a free hand in education.

In 1935, the college completed 50 years of existence. Sir CV Raman, India's only Science Nobel laureate at that time, was the president of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. He said 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?[18]

Lokmanya Tilak was one of the founders of the college


Post-1947, Fergusson College has produced leaders in the fields of politics, academia, literature and art. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India's first president, was the chief guest of the platinum jubilee function. He said on the 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.[19]

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, said,

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.[20]

A two-part history of the college was written by Dr. VM Bachal, former principal. The book, Vatchal Sawashe Varshanchi (A Journey of 125 Years) was published in January 2010.[21]

Recently in 2018, Fergusson was given University status by the Ministry of Human resource development.

Association with Indian politicsEdit

Fergusson College has been given many epithets by political leaders, including 'cradle of Indian polity' and 'twin of the Congress'.[20]

The Main Building

The founders of Fergusson College, most notably Tilak and Gokhale, were 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.[22] 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.)

Among the founders, Agarkar and Namjoshi were early Socialists of Maharashtra.[23] Alumni such as Vitthal Ramji Shinde, S.M. Joshi, and Nanasaheb Gore were eminent socialists, 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. V.D Savarkar, in 1902, enrolled in Fergusson College. As a young man, he was inspired by the new generation of radical political leaders — Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai — along with the political struggle against the partition of Bengal and the rising Swadeshi campaign. After completing his degree, nationalist activist Shyamji Krishna Varma helped Vinayak to go to England to study law, on a scholarship.[24]

Fergusson is the only institution in India to have in its alumni two Indian prime ministers.[12][13][14]


The Main Building

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.[25] The campus extends until the slopes of a hillock, popularly called Fergusson Hill. Several educational institutions are around the hillock. The college is largely built in accordance with the Victorian school of architecture, although it has some Gothic and traditional Indian styles as well.

Main building and departmentsEdit

Department of History
Staff offices

The Main Building is at the inner entrance of the college. Built entirely in Victorian style, the two-storey structure houses the central office and the principals' chambers. The Statistics and Psychology Departments lie to the east of the main building; the Economics Department lie to the west. The computer science and the life science buildings are also to the west.

On the southern side are the RP Paranjpye building, Pittie Chemistry building, Botany, Zoology, Geology, Electronics and Physics departments. The building overlooks the central garden to the north and has two lecture halls and the staffs' chambers. There are 55 laboratories and 51 lecture halls in all. In 2014 Fergusson College have started special courses for upgrading skills of the national youth. The following courses have begun in the same year. 1. Bachelor of Vocation in Media and Communication 2. Bachelor of Vocation in Digital Art and Animation These courses are running with huge demand across the nation. Media and communication is the fastest growing industry not just in India but in the world. The course offers hands on skill experience with overall personality development of the student. In 2019 and 2020 Media and Communication Department have organised Fergusson International Short Film Festival. It was one of the biggest short film festival organised by any college department in India. The course consist of Photography, Voice Over, Script Writing, Media Research, Advertising, Video Editing, Journalism, Broadcast Journalism, Short Film making, and Media Research. Any 12/ Higher Secondary School Grade student or diploma holder can apply for the course.

NM Wadia AmphitheatreEdit

NM Wadia Amphitheatre

The three-storeyed amphitheatre building, 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 1,000 people. This famous amphitheater recently celebrated its 100 years.

Bai Jerbai Wadia LibraryEdit

Bai Jerbai Wadia Library was built in 1929 by industrialists Sir Cusrow Wadia and Sir Ness Wadia in memory of their mother. The Main Library on the ground floor has more than 300,000 books and research journals.[26] Research scholars and book-lovers have donated their collections.

The first floor (the floor above the ground floor) of the library serves as a Reading Hall for students and accommodates 400 students. The floors above this floor are not publicly accessible without prior arrangement and house books, manuscripts, and articles of historic and cultural importance. The library has a collection of statues and posters, dedicated to national leaders and educationalists. The building was extended 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.[citation needed] It encompasses elements of modern architecture and is built without beams. It has eight walls fused together, which function as trusses.

Botanical GardensEdit

The 2-acre (8,100 m2) Botanical Gardens on the campus were founded in 1902 by a teacher, Professor Shevade. Botany students from the college planted specimens here, including Elaeocarpus, Araucaria and Mahogany. In 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 plants found there are 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.[27]

Gymkhana and groundsEdit

Cricket, hockey and football are played on the main ground which has a drainage system, enabling play during monsoons. Two asphalted basketball courts are next to the main ground. A second ground, 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 other indoor games are available, and the Gymnasium Building provides training for boxing, wrestling, judo, weight lifting and yoga. The college has tennis courts on the eastern side of the campus.

New academic complexEdit

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 six hostel blocks, four blocks for boys and two for girls. The total intake capacity of the hostels is 587 students. The gents hostel blocks are to the north of the campus and the ladies hostel blocks lie to the east.

The college has some quarters for the faculty and staff and also for employees of other DES Institutes.[citation needed]

The principal resides in an independent bungalow at the main entrance of the college. Some members of the teaching staff have been provided with residential facilities on the campus. This facility includes independent bungalows. There are some flats constructed with financial aid from the UGC.

Associated institutesEdit

The college shares its campus with the Institute of Management Development and Research, Pune (IMDR) and Jaganath Rathi Vocational Guidance and Training Institute (JRVGTI), both governed by the Deccan Education Society. Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC), established in 1943, is closely associated with Fergusson College. At the northern end of the campus, next to the New Academic Building, lies DES Law College.

Awards and rankingsEdit

In 2004, Fergusson College was awarded an 'A' grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).[28] The College also received the "Best College Award" of the colleges affiliated to the University of Pune in the academic year 2004–2005.College has also gotten 'A'(Equivalent to "A+" grade in current scheme) grade with CGPA 3.26 in NAAC second cycle reaccreditation in year 2010 and again gotten 'A'(Equivalent to "A++" grade in current scheme) grade with CGPA 3.62 in NAAC third cycle in year 2015. It has also received national heritage status, College of Excellence by(UGC) award and It is part of DBT STAR College Scheme.

Fergusson College has ranked in the top ten arts and science colleges in India for the past 16 years[when?] in the annual survey conducted by India Today-AC Nielsen-ORG-MARG and published in India Today magazine.[29][30] In the state of Maharashtra, it is consistently ranked first in science and arts, followed by St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.[31]

Year 2019 2018 2017
NIRF(Overall Rank of College) 27 19 35
Year Nationwide rank: Arts Nationwide rank: Science
2012 12 8
2011 9 5
2010 7 6
2009 10 7
2008 7 7
2007 6 9
2006 8 6
2005 5 6

Notable alumniEdit

Student activitiesEdit

National Cadet CorpsEdit

National Cadet Corps training began in Fergusson College in 1921 with the University Training Corps unit which had two platoons. In 1926, the UTC strength of increased 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.[citation needed]

There are two units of NCC in Fergusson College — Army and Navy wings. 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 considered as reserves, second in line of defence in case of national emergency. Apart from these, the open units in the college are Girls Wing, Air Wing, Signal Wing, Armed Squadron and Medical Wing.[32]

National Service SchemeEdit

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.[33]


The photography department, with contributions from current and former students, brings out an e-magazine, Fergzine.[34]


  1. ^ a b "Fergusson College, Pune". www.fergusson.edu. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Fergusson is now a university, Xavier's & Mithibai on wait list - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Pune's Fergusson College gets academic autonomy". Times of India.
  4. ^ "Fergussonians give a thumbs up to autonomy". Times of India.
  5. ^ "Fergusson becomes 3rd autonomous college in Pune". Indian Express.
  6. ^ "History of Foundation". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Home >> Academics >> Courses >> Arts". Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Gopal Ganesh Agarkar". Archived from the original on 8 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Courses". Archived from the original on 11 May 2007.
  10. ^ Founders BG Tilak, GK Gokhale were early leaders of the INC
  11. ^ Founders GG Agarkar and MB Namjoshi were early socialists in Maharashtra.
  12. ^ a b "About Us >> History". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  13. ^ a b See P. V. Narasimha Rao
  14. ^ a b "Scottish News - The Scotsman". www.scotsman.com.
  15. ^ "Xavier's, Fergusson among 19 colleges to get". Firstpost.
  16. ^ "Accommodation".
  17. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Gandhi". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Prasad". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Narasimha". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Magnum opus author". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  22. ^ Tilak Era
  23. ^ Socialists
  24. ^ Samyukta Mah.
  25. ^ "Shitole lease". Archived from the original on 12 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Library". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008.
  27. ^ "The rejuvenation of the Fergusson Gardens - Pune Times - City - NEWS - The Times of India". 2 August 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009.
  28. ^ "月経困難症の治療にトリキュラー、白髪との関係は?". 5 December 2019.
  29. ^ "India Today". specials.indiatoday.com.
  30. ^ "India Today". specials.indiatoday.com.
  31. ^ "DIRECTORY OF BEST COLLEGES 2012: RANKS.JSP | IndiaToday". www.indiatoday.in.
  32. ^ "NCC". Archived from the original on 20 September 2008.
  33. ^ "NSS". Archived from the original on 7 March 2009.
  34. ^ "Fergzine: The e magazine of the college". Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2010.

External linksEdit