Mount Carmel College has given generations of women more than a degree. BHUMIKA K. talks to some of them who remember the institution with gratitude, as it turns 60 today
There’s something about college that makes one nostalgic. And when you hear of someone being a “Carmelite”, you will see many faces light up in a sort of affiliation. The memories of Mount Carmel College for many students flutter gently as a silken spider web — it is beautiful, attractive, ensnares, envelops and keeps them locked smugly in its clasp. Forever.
It is a place you come into as naïve girls and graduate as confident women. And in its many nooks and crannies, in its classrooms and canteen, in the shade of its many trees, in the hostel, in the numerous winding stairways and halls, auditorium, basketball court and drive, and in its lecturers, are the very things that make up the lives and fates of many of its students.
The college has produced stalwarts in every imaginable field from politics to films, entrepreneurship to music, mountaineering to social sciences, and a large contribution to the world of sports. As Mount Carmel College gets set to celebrate 60 years of being the strong-house of knowledge for generations of women in Bangalore, here’s a look at how some of them look upon their alma mater and how they think college changed their lives.
India’s sprint queen and Olympian athlete Ashwini Nachappa is one of the examples of the kind of contribution the college has made to the world of sports. Joining Mounts in 1984, Ashwini did her PUC there. “The lovely ramp that we would walk up to get into college, with girls sitting right through till the end…,” she says when asked of her immediate association with MCC. And adds: “Because of my active competitive career in athletics, I was unable to attend college for a couple of months. But I am extremely grateful that our college was one of the very few that encouraged sports to such a great extent. Without it, it would have been very difficult for me to pursue my athletic career.”
Kannada film actor Anu Prabhakar, who joined MCC in 1996, says the first image college brings to her is of the bonding of Carmelites. “It’s that feeling that it’s my college,” she stresses. “It was so much fun and is filled with wonderful memories…the lecturers, the friends you make — the combination was just right for me.” Though she didn’t really use opportunities in college to act, college did give her the confidence she needed as an actor.
Not to forget
N.K. Srimathi clearly recalls how she was in MCC 52 years ago (batch of 1956) because that’s how old her son is. She joined college after she was married (like many of her fellow students), and she had completed two of her final exam papers, when she had her baby. It was a time when the degree course was spread over two years, and most students came to class in saris. “Even the salwar kameez was not so popular. Sleeveless was not allowed. And college gates would be closed when the day started,” she recalls, laughing. College, for her, stood for strict discipline. Not surprisingly, she’s still in touch with one of her classmates to this day and can recall names of at least 15 others from her neighbourhood who were either her batchmates, seniors or juniors.
“I think being at MCC was the three best years of my life,” is how Shailaja Vishwanath, a language and training consultant (batch of ‘99) associates with college. “A large part of who I am is moulded by those years and I owe a great deal to my teachers and classmates.”
A shy girl, she says college changed all that. Being the president of the Indian Music Association on the campus, the experience of organising events helped her in her work later. “College gave me a lot of confidence as far as interacting with others was concerned. It made me more sociable.”
From the bhelpuriwalla at the gate right through to the strays on campus, there are some fixtures that will forever remain. For many the façade of college may have changed beyond recognition, with newer buildings being added on each year. But the heart and soul of MCC remains the same.Leaps and Bounds
Founded by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa.
MCC began on July 7, 1948, with just 50 students on its rolls. MCC today is home to over 4,000 students.
MCC has been a pioneer in introducing subjects such as microbiology, environmental sciences, travel & tourism, nutrition, journalism and communications studies.
It received autonomy from Bangalore University in 2005.
The college has instituted several cells including the Placement Cell, the Centre for Extended Education, Women’s Rights Cell, Human Rights Cell, and the Research Centre.
MCC has been awarded the highest ranking twice by the National Audit and Accreditation Committee (NAAC) of the Universities Grants Commission and has been declared as a ‘Centre with Potential for Excellence’.