Founded as a part of a nationwide campaign for women’s education and empowerment in 1924, Indraprastha College for Women is a constituent college of the University of Delhi and its oldest women’s college. As the College marches towards its centenary, it has added to its academics and infrastructural resources, always mindful of its core vision to empower and mainstream the marginalized.
In the early 1940s, Gandhiji had launched the ‘Quit India Movement’ demanding an end to British Rule of India. One of the old students of Indraprastha College for Women (IP College), Sucheta Kriplani, who went on to become the first woman chief minister of Independent India, was also at the forefront. The ongoing students of IP Colleges at that point of time were also not less than anybody in India’s fight for freedom. The girls would jump the walls, go to Gandhi Maidan to listen to Gandhiji and Nehru or they would just go on a march to protest the British government. They knew that there would be repercussions and they can also be rusticated from the college, still they continued to participate, calling themselves mini-politicians who would organize meetings in the lawns of the college.
The oldest women’s college of the University of Delhi, the 95-year-old IP College has many such stories of the Indian independence movement to tell. The College has intersected the National Movement, the Education Reforms Movement, and the Women’s Movement, and is itself a movement today. “In the last 95 years, our students have been freedom fighters, ministers, the first glider pilot, poets, writers, bureaucrats, prominent academics, social activists, media persons, actors, mountain climbers and so on,” opines Dr. Babli Moitra Saraf, Principal, Indraprastha College for Women.
IP College has a glorious tradition of academics and service which has only grown over the years. The institute has produced graduates of rare distinction including, Qurratulain Haider (Urdu Writer), Sharan Rani Backliwal (Acclaimed Sarod player, recipient of Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan), Aruna Roy (Social activist, campaigner for the Right to Information, Magsaysay Award winner), Ambika Soni (Former Union Minister, Government of India), Madhu Bhaduri (Former IFS Officer, Ambassador to Portugal), Utsa Patnaik (Professor of Economics, Jawahar Lal Nehru University) and may more. Dr. Moitra Saraf opines, “We encourage the development of a life of the mind, in tandem with employability of the student.”
The vision of the college is to educate, enable and empower young women, emphasizing the need to mainstream the marginalized and weaker sections among them to ensure justice and equity in society. Its mission is to steer the education it offers not only to lead to the pragmatic goal of employability, but also to build a life of the mind and sensitize and orient its students to the service of the community, in the quest for a better life for society and the world that we inhabit. “Woven into the fabric of the multi-faceted life of the College are the activities that are aligned to its vision. The Mission is dynamic, and its tasks are reviewed from time to time to meet the challenges and opportunities of changing times,” pinpoints Dr. Moitra Saraf.
At present, IP College in its beautiful campus that has been recognized as a heritage site and a landmark of Delhi, enrolls approximately 3500 students in its UG and PG programs. The College offers a wide range of courses, which promotes interdisciplinary studies in the 3 streams of Humanities, Mathematical Sciences and Commerce. Two new courses, B.A. (Hons.) Sociology and B.A. (Hons.) Geography have commenced from the academic session July 2017. Uniquely, the College offers the Self-Financed BA (Hons) in Multimedia and Mass Communication (BMMMC). The College also has a Research Methodology Program for advanced learners. “We have instituted an UG Research Grant for innovative and original projects,” adds Dr. Moitra Saraf.
The six Research and Learning Centres of the College namely, Centre for Earth Studies, Translation and Translation Studies Centre, Museum and Archives Learning Resource Centre, Sanskrit and Sanskrit Studies Centre, Music Archives and Listening Room and Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies encourages independent pursuit of interest under mentors and helps the student to explore herself and the world around her, to facilitate choice. The Science Society also provides for the development of students’ innovative ideas. Additionally, the College has in place the annual Undergraduate Research Grant for original and innovative projects that students may want to develop. Besides, the various academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular societies of the College motivate the student to give their best.
“We expose our students to areas beyond the prescribed syllabi, through field visits, internships and through our Research and Learning Centres. We also organize special sessions for development of soft skills through our Career Guidance and Placement Cell (CGPC), which collaborates with industry experts,” states Dr. Moitra Saraf. The IP College students themselves reach out to the companies to invite them through the CGPC to hold training sessions and recruitment processes. The College facilitates all these efforts through the interaction of the administration with national and international educational agencies, NGOs and other bodies, organizing interactions and discussions to stimulate student interest as well as expand the horizon of opportunities for them.
Today, IP College makes all effort to inculcate the qualities which have been envisaged in its vision and mission statement in every student and is confident on assessing the full rounded personalities of its graduates that it is successful in its venture. The 95-year-old institution is strongly and steadily marching towards its centennial. In this journey it has marked many significant milestones. Its immediate plans are to augment its national and international presence and continue to grant access to and empower women,” concludes Dr. Moitra Saraf.
Dr. Babli Moitra Saraf, Principal
Babli Moitra Saraf is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Head of the Department of Multi – Media and Mass Communication. She has received her M.Phil degree in English and Ph.D in Sociology. Dr. Moitra Saraf taught in the Department of English in Delhi University’s Ramjas College for 29 years before joining I.P. College as Principal on 1 July 2009. She has made significant interventions in academic and co-curricular activities, created centres of research and training, augmented learning resources and introduced new courses of study. She has introduced and promoted innovative measures to preserve the historical legacy of the College and its natural green cover and environment.