During the World War II, in the early forties after the Pearl Harbour incident, the Allied Forces set up an advanced air-base taking over around 750 acres of farmland from the three mouzas of Sherpur, Baigachi and Tahaberia in the district of North 24 Parganas,Westbengal.
Once the World War II was over, the air-base fell out of use. But the erstwhile farmland could never be reclaimed back. In 1947, India became independent, suffering the pangs of partition preceded by violent communal riots. As a fall-out of it, huge numbers of people got uprooted from their soil – land, home, and the like — and started to come to the eastern part of the divided Bengal, re-christened as West Bengal. They were known (and somewhat frowned at then) as the refugees. The then Chief Minister of West Bengal, the late Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, seeing the plight of these people started the process of getting compensation from the Allied Forces’ headquarters. After a lot of efforts put in both by Dr. Roy and Jawaharlal Nehru the desired compensation was released. Dr. Roy was obstinate that the money received had to be spent building a new township for the refugees in the place where the air-base once was. He finally got his way and the desired township started to be built by the military contractors who once built the air-base.
Ashoknagar, the small town some twenty five kilometres 48 kms from Kolkata came into being a couple of years after the independence, and started to be filled with the people, ‘refugees’ from erstwhile East Bengal or East Pakistan(now Bangladesh).
These people were mostly gentlemanly folk –admirers of education, art, theatre and the like. They first initiated the process of setting up schools, both primary and secondary, in Ashoknagar for the academic betterment of their progeny. In a couple of decades, a good number of schools came up, both for boys and girls. But the want still was of a degree college to provide university level education in various subjects.
The establishment of the college, Netaji Satabarshiki Mahavidyalaya, was fulfilment of a dream long cherished by the eminent personalities and educationists of the township cutting across political divides and all barriers. In tune with the local thirst for education which resulted in the emergence of a sizeable number of Secondary and Higher Secondary schools in the Ashoknagar-Kalyangarh area, many eminent persons at that time, particularly those who happened to be the torch-bearers of the Refugee Rehabilitation Movement, led by the late Nani Kar, Dr.Sadhan Sen and Keshab Chandra Bhattacharya felt the dire need of a degree college to be set up in the area. The late Nani Kar was then an MLA. He was kind of a dreamer and an educationist himself and a teacher by profession. He had the magnetism in his personality to draw together a good number of eminent local persons, teachers, social-workers, politicians of almost all hues and educationists. The other two colleges in the vicinity could hardly accommodate the increasing demand and number of higher education-seekers from far and near. The forerunners of the efforts to get a degree college established, led by men like the late Nani Kar, could make others see the dream. It can also be put in a little different way that it was the well-timed convergence of well-meaning people of all walks and divisions.
Then, after many a discussion and negotiations, came the day – 14th May, 1997, when a convention was held at the town hall of Ashokngar, Sahid Sadan. In this convention, local intelligentsia spearheaded by men like the late Nani Kar resolved to set up a degree college at Ashoknagar-Kalyangarh area and, thereby, assured the ‘go ahead’ for a long-standing local demand. That year coincided with the birth centenary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. So, it was quite a unanimity of opinion that the name would be NETAJI SATABARSHIKI MAHAVIDYALAYA.It was decided to be a co-educational institution, a general degree college.
Ashoknagar-Kalyangarh Municipality whose the then Chairperson, Smt. Sharmistha Dutta, was included among the first few members of the Preparatory/Organising Committee (Prastuti Committee) of the college, and she came forward to provide the initial fund of Rs. 2,00,000/ and the late Chitta Basu, the then MP of Barasat, was chosen to head the said Committee as the President which responsibility he held till his death some years later. The late Nani Kar was selected the Secretary of that Committee.
Haripur Sanskriti Sangha, an established local club for many years, was of enormous help to get an area of 12.4 bighas for building the college. Local people enthusiastic about it donated money and organised blood donation camps to raise funds. Small personal donations also poured in.
Affiliation from the University of Calcutta arrived on 8th December, 2000, and the much-awaited teaching-learning process took off at the adjacent Sanskriti Sangha Girls’ School in the morning shift on & from 15th January, 2001. The college owes a lot of thanks to the Sanskriti Sangha Girls’ School authority for providing the basics for the beginning. At the outset only 35 students were enrolled. The present two-storey building of the college was underway very soon. Funds or financial help either from the Government of West Bengal or India was a far cry in those days. MP LADS and MLA LADS funds were the only financial resource. When Nani Kar died suddenly of heart attack, his eldest son, Sri Babul (Sabyasachi) Kar, took over where his father left and carried on the tough task of raising the college.The present building was finally built and was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, (now late) Jyoti Basu, accompanied by the then MIC of Higher Education,Prof. Satya Sadhan Chakraborty on 2nd June, 2002.
From such humble start, the college initiated its journey, stretching over sixteen years. The college now has an impressive two-storey building comprising 36 rooms and 16 class rooms, including specific rooms allotted to each Honours Departments and the Department of Physical Education, which like the Department of Music is a unique addition to the academia of the institution. The college has one ICT and AC-fitted Seminar Room and two large rooms with audio-systems and LCD projectors, a Wi-Fi enabled library with a well-furnished reading room meant for both Teachers and students. The campus of the college is fully Wi-Fi enabled.
Meanwhile, West Bengal State University was established in 2008 in Barasat and the affiliation of all of the 57 colleges in the district of North 24 Parganas under the University of Calcutta were shifted to the new university by an act of the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal.
In 2008 the first Governing Body of the college was formed with Sri Babul (Sabyasachi) Kar as the 1st President. As per the Calcutta University Statutes there were four Teacher Representatives elected/nominated from among and by the substantive teachers of the college excluding the Principal, who remained as the ex-officio Secretary of the Governing Body; two Representatives of the Substantive Non-teaching Staff were selected by them to be sent to the Governing Body; two Nominees each of the university and the Director of Public Instruction were sent to the Governing Body; the Chairperson of the Municipality of the area and one Representative of regular students of the college, normally, the General Secretary of the duly elected Students’ Union, became a member of the GB. It took over from the erstwhile Prastuti (Organising) Committee which managed the affairs since the inception.
The number of students getting enrolled in the college has been increasing steadily. To date the roll strength of college now stands nearly at three thousands. The reason behind this steady rise is not too difficult to figure out. The teaching-learning-evaluation infrastructure of the college is conducive to academic upliftment. It has struck an exemplary chord among the neighbouring schools and colleges. The results of university examinations speak for our attainment despite being saddled with shortage of funds, manpower and infrastructure.
The college has earned a name among the higher education-seekers so much so that boys and girls from far-flung areas, village backwaters, from among minority and under-privileged sections of the population crowd up the college counters during the admission period to get into the 1st year class of BA & BSc. The minority and backward class students comprise the larger portion of the roll-strength.
At the moment honours courses in nine subjects are offered to the new-entrants to the college — both in B.A. and B.Sc. The subjects are Bengali, English, History, Political Science, Geography, Sociology, Education, Sanskrit and Music. Thirteen subjects are there for General courses — Bengali, English, History, Political Science, Geography, Sociology, Music, Physical Education, Education, Sanskrit, Economics, Mathematics and Journalism and Mass Communication. At different points of time, these subjects have been introduced, mainly on demand from the students and parents in general. Bengali, Sociology and Music in B.A. and Geography in B.Sc are the subjects in which some students have made excellent results over the years. Students in other subjects are no mean achievers, though. The curricula and syllabi are ever since formulated by the Board of Studies (BOS) of the affiliating university, WBSU.