A girls’ college that has its roots in Mahatma Gandhi’s vision
How a ‘pinch of flour’ for freedom fighters and revolutionaries translated into establishment of Chutki Bhandar Girls’ College, which stands as a symbol of women empowerment
LUCKNOW Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, did his bit for women empowerment by setting up the Chutki Bhandar Girls’ Inter College in Hussainganj here in 1921. The story behind this institution’s establishment is an interesting chapter in India’s history.
According to a book penned by noted Gandhian Ramnath Suman – ‘Uttar Pradesh Mein Gandhi’ - published in 1969, Gandhi called on the women of the area to keep aside a pinch of flour (before starting cooking for their family) for freedom fighters and revolutionaries who often had to stay hungry,” said Professor Shobha Mishra, head of history department, Navyug Girls’ Post Graduate College.
She added, “It’s a documented truth that freedom fighters used to go hungry for days in the absence of money and edible items. During his visit in October 1920, Mahatma Gandhi urged women of the area to give a share of flour for freedom fighters that was collected from every house by some volunteers. This flour bank was called Tilak-Swaraj fund. Within a few months, the quantity of flour became so huge that the volunteers decided to sell the excess, and by doing that, they collected ₹64.25, which was a huge amount those days.”
The volunteers asked Gandhiji how to utilise the money, on which he said, “Because the money has come from women’s contribution, it depicts the power of women. So, it’s our duty to spend this money for the betterment of women. Hence, there is no harm in setting up a girls’ school.”
On the day of Nag Panchami, Chutki Bhandar School was set up for girls. This institution is now a full-fledged inter college in which more than 900 girl students are getting education, she added.
“I am proud to live in an area visited by Mahatma Gandhi. Chutki Bhandar School is very important for girls of the area who get quality education,” said Vinod Srivastava, a resident of Tar Wali Gali near the school.
The school also has a library of 213 books, some of them on Mahatma Gandhi.
Historian Ravi Bhat said, “Mahatma Gandhi experimented a lot in Lucknow… here, he learned that people are ready to share whatever they have got for the sake of freedom from the British. He also saw that Lucknow was a city where Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others lived without any dispute. He said the Hindi spoken in Lucknow cannot be Sanskritised Hindi or Arabic Urdu, but is perfect Hindustani.”
He said, “Gandhiji used to emphasize on the health and education of people. He also laid the foundation stone of a primary health centre in Chinhat on September 28, 1929 to provide medical facilities to those living in the district. A few yards from here, he inaugurated a junior high school for educating the younger generation. The results of his hard work for Lucknowites are visible today.”