Tagore’s connection to Koti Women’s College

Rabindranath Tagore’s tryst with education through Shantiniketan in Bengal is well known, but he has an interesting connection to women’s education in Hyderabad. Tagore was instrumental in ensuring the appointment of the first woman faculty at the now famous University College for Women in Koti way back in 1930s.

Gibbs, hailing from an aristocratic family from Mysuru and educated at Oxford was the first woman faculty to be appointed at the college specially to convince Indian girls to join the college. This happened when Tagore suggested to the then Nizam for her appointment to improve women education in the princely state. This was revealed by Aruna Bahuguna (who was originally Aruna Gibbs), Director of Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy, who is the grand-daughter of Ms. Gibbs. She shared several anecdotes about Ms. Gibbs while delivering the convocation address at the college on Saturday. He said Ms. Gibbs was widowed at the age of 14 and her father encouraged her to pursue studies and sent her to Oxford. After her return , she met Rabindranath Tagore in Mysuru. The poet-seer was greatly impressed by the talent of Ms. Gibbs. According to Ms. Bahuguna, Tagore met the then Nizam of Hyderabad who established the first women’ college of erstwhile Hyderabad State in 1924. When the Nizam expressed his concern over women education and asked Rabindranath Tagore to suggest a good Indian teacher for the college, the latter took the name of Ms. Gibbs and that’s how she became the first Indian faculty in women’s college. Till then, all the faculty were foreigners. . In order to encourage women to pursue regular studies, Ms. Gibbs visited several households to personally talk to parents convincing them to send girls to the college. Apparently, her efforts yielded results and subsequently she became the vice-principal of the college.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:03:59 PM |

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