While passing through the bustling Harish Mukherjee Road of Central Kolkata, would anyone remember the story of a strong willed woman, and the glorious past behind the walls of the school building that occupies the address 1/1 of the busy street?
Smt Sarala Ray, the daughter of the eminent Brahmo reformer Durgamohan Das, was inspired by the politician and reformer Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s ideals from a very early age. She dreamt of doing something to enhance the lives of the women of India, who were tied to shackles at that time.
Her long nourished dream was fulfilled on 20 April, 1920, with the help of eminent personalities like Sir R.N. Mukherjee, Sir B.C. Mitter, Lord Sinha among others. On that day, her dream institution , Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School was established in a small rented house on Landsdowne Road, with only 6 students!
With passing days, as the number of pupils increased, Smt Ray hoped to find a permanent residence for her school instead of a rented one. After many months of searching, a plot of land was chosen at Harish Mukherjee Road of Bhawanipur to construct the new building. Thus, in February, 1929, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School got shifted to a new address, which continues till date- 1/1 Harish Mukherjee Road, Kolkata-700020.
During the Second World War, which began in 1939, the school was temporarily shifted to Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. The war was unable to curb the spirit of the school, and the school magazine ‘Sadhana’ was still issued from there, with the altered name ‘Ghorchhara’ (‘Homeless’).
A number of days have passed since then. The school still continues as one of the best schools in Kolkata, and is rightfully proud with an amazing list of notable alumni. Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School completed its centenary in the year 2020. A glorious past is indeed one of its bright feathers among numerous others!