UNRAVELING THE HISTORY OF SREE NARAYANA COLLEGE, KOLLAM
The establishment of Sree Narayana College ,Kollam in 1948 was a giant step forward in triggering an education revolution in Kerala. It was the first among the series of higher education institutions established by Sree Narayana Trusts , Kollam.
It’s formation was accomplished under the mighty leadership of the social reformer and the former chief minister of Kerala Sri. R. Sankar . Inspired by Guru’s words ‘emancipation through education’ , he spearheaded the education movement among the Ezhava community, thereby liberating them from the clutch of darkness.
The Ezhava community were subjected to severe exploitation through out the ages and remained socially , educationally and economically backward. Though largest section among the population of Kerala, education was largely untouched among them. According to the Census Report of 1941 , the Ezhava community stood 17th in Travancore with respect to the literacy rate. And the college going students from the Ezhava community in Travancore was barely 500.
Once Sri.R.Sankar assumed the leadership of S.N.D.P Yogam , he looked into the plight of Ezhavas in the realm of education. Guru’s words ‘emancipation through education’ always resonates in his mind. Under Shankar’s leadership , the SNDP Yogam went on to establish a first grade college named as ‘Sree Narayana College’ at Kollam in 1948. Since its inception, this mighty institution has been playing a pivotal role in moulding the posterity, thereby enlightening the society.
The idea of a first grade college for Ezhava community was first sprouted in the minds of some influential Ezhava leaders in Kollam like M.Kumaran, E.C.Govindanashan etc .To materialize this, they constituted ‘Sree Narayana Memorial College Committee’ and sent a deputation to the Diwan of Travancore Sir. C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer in order to present their cause. Though the Diwan responded favourably,the committee failed to take it forward due to the crunch in their financial resources.
Later, they requested SNDP Yogam to establish a first grade college at Kollam under its auspices. And finally, a resolution was unanimously passed in this regard during the 41st annual conference of S.N.D.P Yogam held at Kollam on 24,25 November 1945. It was decided that a first grade college should be established at Kollam as early as possible and for that matter a sum of fifteen lakh rupees need to be mobilized.
Sri .R. Sankar took the then government of Travancore into confidence, particularly Diwan Sir C.P and the latter had allotted land for the college, an area of 27 acres and 10 cents from the Cantonment ground in Kollam. And the foundation stone of the Sree Narayana College was laid in 1947. Efforts were made for the massive mobilization of the financial resources, preparation of the building plan, construction of the building along with the creation of classrooms, laboratories and libraries with modern amenities.
Since the fund mobilized for the construction of building was far short of the requirement, Sri. R. Sankar introduced a novel ‘Commodity Contribution’ programme. For the execution of this programme, village and taluq committees were constituted. Within the village committee, ward committees and volunteer groups were formed. The volunteer groups collected commodities from each Ezhava family in their respective areas. And the Ezhava community favourably responded to this initiative and they had contributed liberally towards its success. Thus the ‘commodity contribution’ programme had played an important role in the establishment of Sree Narayana College at Kollam.
The Sree Narayana College started functioning in June 1948 by running pre- university classes with 505 students. Thenceforth it had witnessed an expeditious growth within a short span. It was elevated to the status of a first grade college in 1949 and by 1954, it became the top most college in the state in terms of its student strength. The post-graduation courses were started in the college in 1957 .It pushed back other colleges and rose into prominence by ensuring quality teaching along with modern laboratory amenities.
The growth trajectory of Sree Narayana College during these period was determined not only by its largest student strength but also by the diversities of the courses that it offered, the depth of the post-graduation and research studies undertaken and the academic outcomes that it achieved year after year. Today the college offers 17 undergraduate and 14 post graduate courses. Nine of the post graduate departments are approved research centers as well.