Just one hundred years ago, i.e. in 1867, the number of students studying in the Patna College which was the premier and pioneer institution of higher education in the State was so low that there were only seventeen students in the First Year, sixteen in the Second, six in the Third and four in the Fourth Year Class.
In March 1875, the number of students in the College rose to ninety-seven indeed, but there were only forty Biharees amongst them, others belonging to communities from other Provinces. It must be said, however, to the credit of the handful of teachers who were then in charge of imparting higher education to students in the Patna College that they discharged their duties in a highly satisfactory way.
In the years 1899-1900, the staff in the Patna College consisted of seven teachers of whom four only were M.A.s. In 1903, the number of teaching staff rose to nine. Of these, Principal A. MacDonell taught Philosophy as well as Mathematics. James and Jadunath Sarkar taught both English and History; N. C. Mitra was in charge of Philosophy. D. N. Mullick taught Physical Science (Physics). Harilal Chandra and Narendra Nath Bose used to teach Chemistry and Mathematics. Besides these, there were a Pandit and a Moulavi for teaching Sanskrit and Persian respectively. There was a Law Department attached to the Patna College but a single teacher used to impart instructions in all the diverse branches of Law.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar CIE (10 December 1870 – 19 May 1958) was a prominent Indian Bengali historian. He has been regarded as the greatest Indian historian of his time and one of the world’s greatest in the world by E. Sreedharan.
He was Born in Karachmaria village, he was the son of Rajkumar Sarkar, the Zamindar of Karachmaria in Natore in Bengal. In 1891, he passed the B.A. examination with honours in English and History from Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1892, he stood First in the First Class in the M.A. examination of Calcutta University in English. In 1897, he received the Premchand-Roychand Scholarship.
He became a teacher in English literature in 1893 at Ripon College, Calcutta (later renamed Surendranath College). In 1898, he started teaching at Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1899, he was transferred to Patna College, Patna, where he would continue teaching until 1926. In between, in 1917-1919, he taught Modern Indian History in Benaras Hindu University and during 1919-1923 he taught in Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, now in Odisha. In 1923, he became an honorary member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. In August 1926, he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University. In 1928, he joined as Sir W. Meyer Lecturer in Madras University.
He considered the history of Emperor Aurangzeb itself to be the history of India. He has been called the “greatest Indian historian of his time” and one of the greatest in the world, whose erudite works “have established a tradition of honest and scholarly historiography” by E. Sreedharan. He has also been compared with Theodor Mommsen and Leopold von Ranke.