Chandramukhi Basu Biography
One of the first two women to complete graduation in the British era, Chandramukhi Basu was in the year 1860 in Dehradun. A Bengali speaking Christian, she enrolled herself in the Dehradun Native Christian School in the year 1880, and it is from there that she passed her first examination for Bachelor in Arts.
At that point of time, the Bethune College didn’t entertain admissions for people who weren’t Hindu, and thus, being a Christian, Basu got admission in Reverend Alexander Duff’s Free Church Institution. It was a significant step in that era as during that time, gender discrimination was its peak and girls getting educated were far from being a living reality.
In the year 1876, with the help of special permission, she was allowed to sit for her examinations. Being the single girl in her batch, she topped the examination and despite this achievement, there was a lot of dilemma and reluctance on the administration’s part whether to publish her result.
In history, Chandramukhi Basu is recalled as the first woman graduate under British India, along with Kadiambini Ganguly, they share this record together, and although Basu cleared her entrance exam much before Ganguly did, she had to wait for quite long as the university wasn’t showing any cooperation and support in deeming her as a successful candidate, in spite of her qualifying in the entrance test.
By the year 1878, the education system became a little flexible than before and she was allowed to pursue higher studies. This is when Basu, along with Ganguly got admitted to Bethune College, Kolkata, from where both of them graduated in Arts, becoming the first females to ever graduate in British India, and what followed after that was even a bigger achievement as Basu got her MA degree from the university of Calcutta, and she was the only one to get it in that period.
In the year 1886, she started teaching in Bethune College and later became the principal of the college, again registering herself as a significant entity by becoming the first female head in any undergraduate institution. Ever her sisters were the first ever female medical graduates in that period.