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Bengal Govt Confers State’s Top Honour To Bethune Collegiate School

The school which was set up by John E D Bethune, in north Kolkata with 21 students in 1849, is rated as one of the best girls' boarding schools in the city. 

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Mamata Banerjee
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday presented the state’s top honour 'Banga Ratna' to Bethune Collegiate School on the occasion of its 175th year and expressed hope that the institute will someday occupy the No 1 place among all schools across the globe. 

The school which was set up by John E D Bethune, in north Kolkata with 21 students in 1849, is rated as one of the best girls' boarding schools in the city. 

At a function at Netaji Indoor Stadium in central Kolkata, attended by students, guardians, and  teachers of the state-run school, Banerjee handed over a trophy and citation to Sabari Bhattacharya, the teacher in charge of the educational institution. 

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"It is a matter of pride for all of us that Bethune School has attained such pre-eminence in the country and the world. You will one day occupy the number one place among all schools in the world," Banerjee said amidst thunderous applause of the gathering. 

Tracing back to the days of 1849 when the school came into existence, Banerjee said "You charted the path of women's emancipation in those days. Over the years, your pupils had made their mark and excelled in every field being the true embodiment of ‘Nari Shakti, Matri Shakti’(women empowerment).  To this date, Bethune School is performing the same role.

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''The teachers of this school are imparting knowledge related to wisdom, unity, amity, compassion, and humanity to make our daughters multifaceted - excelling in various fields."

The chief minister said it was Bengal which had pioneered women's emancipation.  “Our history is the history of pride, tolerance, and progressiveness. Nowhere else you will find so much tolerance," Banerjee said. 

Pointing out that the May 10 programme was preceded by the birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore on Tuesday, she said "It is a matter of great pride that the national anthems of both India and our neighbour Bangladesh had been composed by Gurudev – ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ respectively.

"Bengal is the soil of Netaji who had coined the phrase Jai Hind instilling patriotic fervour among people. Bengal is the place where Gandhiji set up his base in 1947 and launched an indefinite fast to stop the country from being engulfed in flames. We have renovated that house in Beleghata area of the city," she said.

Banerjee also dwelt on the personal rapport between Gandhi and Tagore and how both of them dealt with issues confronted by pre-independent India.  

Tagore had returned the knighthood offered by the British government in protest against the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, she pointed out referring to the role of luminaries from the state in the freedom movement, social reforms and people's uprising.

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The chief minister said B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution, had gone to Parliament from Bengal Assembly.

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