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Elphinstone College


Elphinstone College

Elphinstone College
Elphinstone College
Established 1856
Type Public Educational Institution
Principal Dr.Madhuri V Kagalkar
Location 156, Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, MH 400032, India
Campus Urban
Nickname Elphi
Affiliations University of Mumbai

Elphinstone College is an institution of higher education affiliated to the University of Mumbai. Established in 1856, it is one of the oldest colleges of the University of Mumbai. It was exalted as a prestigious seat of learning during the British Raj and is generally observed for its vibrant alumni. It is reputed for producing several luminaries like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Virchand Gandhi, Badruddin Tyabji, Pherozshah Mehta, Kashinath Trimbak Telang, Jamshedji Tata and also for a list of illustrious professors that includes Dadabhai Naoroji as well. It is further observed for having played a key role in spread of Western education in the Bombay Presidency.

The year 2006 marked the Sesquicentennial celebrations of the college (1856–2006). At present it offers undergraduate level courses in the arts, sciences and commerce and is under the Governance of Maharashtra Government.

Locally, the college is famous for its 'Romanesque Transitional' style building that has been recently categorized as Grade I Heritage structure.


  • History 1
    • Role in inception of Bombay University and other colleges 1.1
  • Academics 2
    • Courses offered 2.1
      • Senior college 2.1.1
      • Junior college 2.1.2
  • Facilities 3
  • Noteworthy features 4
    • Legacy 4.1
    • College building 4.2
  • Festivals 5
  • Location 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Mountstuart Elphinstone
Elphinstone College taken in the late 19th century

By 19th century Bombay was a prosperous centre for maritime trade and commerce. In 1824 an English school was set up by the Bombay Native Education Society for Indian students (while the opinion in Britain was against educating the 'natives').

In 1827 a resolution was passed that an institution for promotion of education should be established under Bombay Native Education Society and be designated as "Elphinstone College" (distinct from High School). This is after Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone, the departing Governor of Bombay who was responsible for beginning higher education in the city. Rs.2,29,636.00 was collected by public subscription to fund teaching professorships in the English language and the Arts, Science and Literature of Europe. The professorships were in honour of Mountstaurt Elphinstone. The College was formally constituted in 1835. The classes commenced in 1836, at Town Hall, with the first two professors: Arthur Bedford Orlebar (Natural Philosophy) and John Harkness (General Literature).

In 1840, the professors' classes were amalgamated with the Society's High School to form the Elphinstone Native Education Institution. In 1845, the name was shortened to Elphinstone Institution.

Elphinstone College became a distinct institution, separated from the High School, on 1 April 1856. This year is officially considered to be the year of establishment of Elphinstone College.

The College was affiliated to University of Bombay in 1860.

Role in inception of Bombay University and other colleges

University of Bombay was established in the year 1857. Inception classes were held at Elphinstone college and was subsequently moved to the present Fort campus.

To formalize legal education, a chair of Jurisprudence was set up, called Perry Professorship at Elphinstone Institution in 1855. The same year, R. T. Reid (LL. B. Bar-at-Law) was appointed the first Perry professor of Jurisprudence and the Government Law School as it was then called. This is taken as the inception of the Government Law College Mumbai.

It was suggested that Elphinstone College premises be used (during Morning Hours) for initial Classes of Jaihind College. The proposal was accepted and admission started for the Arts faculty in June 1948, with a formal inauguration in September 1948 at the Elphinstone College Library Hall.

Sir J J School of Arts was founded in 1857 and was instituted to take up drawing classes. Initial classes were held at Elphinstone Institution.


Elphinstone College Mumbai
Elphinstone College, c. 1905

Elphinstone college, like many other colleges of Mumbai, constitutes two different academic entities: Senior and Junior colleges.

Senior college is affiliated to University of Mumbai and imparts education leading to Bachelor degrees while Junior college is monitored by HSC Board and provides higher secondary education.

Courses offered

Senior college

Junior college


Noteworthy features


The legacy of the College as a center of excellence was unparalleled in western India. During British rule, It was most coveted among colleges, standing alongside Presidency Colleges of Calcutta and Madras. However, post independence its standards declined and more so in the recent times. This is generally attributed to government negligence and red tapism.

College building

The building of the College, with its gothic architecture, has been classified as a grade 1 heritage structure. It is one of the most identified buildings of South Mumbai as a symbol British Raj Heritage.


Maharashtrotsav is a National Level Inter College Cultural Festival organized by all the students and faculties of Elphinstone College. Maharashtrotsav 2011-12 gathered a crowd of more than 75 colleges gathering a crowd of nearly 2500 students which was the then a State Level Event. 2012-13 marked a huge progess in its type making it National Level Festival gathering a crowd of nearly 5000 students from more than 130 colleges across India.

Maharashtrotsav promises to be a launch pad for numerous new talents who are presently lost in the shadow of big names. This event shall bring them into the limelight and be a milestone in their path of glamour world. Maharashtrotsav is a budding event planned to cater to all those who intend to prove their talent through their extraordinary skills. It is a phenomenon which brings together various untapped talents on one platform with the basic aim and spirit to promote Culture, Harmony and Talent.

TechTsar Logo

TechTsar started back in 2009, with a budget of INR 75,000, which was contributed by advertisements in the Techtsar brochure and banners. Amongst the notable past sponsors are Bank of Maharashtra, Dena Bank, Airtel etc. The name of the festival was inspired by two words: Technology[tech] & King[tsar] and was proposed by Elphinstone College Alumni Rohan Bhambhani . King of technology. The motto being "Merging Talent with Technology." The festival consists of many events such C and Java Debugging, LAN Gaming, Quiz, Debate, Photography, Logo Designing, Grand Prix, Treasure Hunt etc. Students from many colleges across Mumbai, Thane & Navi Mumbai participated in this Festival. The festival takes place in the final week of November. Currently in its second year it was even more successful than the previous year with a huge rise in the number of participants.

The Biotechnology Department of the college organizes the festival known as PRIMERS. It had started in 2009. The festival consists of various seminars by well known speakers and continued by various events in which the students of various colleges of Mumbai and Thane participate.

This year the Fest was scheduled on 2nd, 3rd and 4 December 2010. This year the students had also organized a Job Fair for All the college students with free entry and are concluding the event with a Fashion Show. The Grand Finale of the Fashion Show was scheduled on 4 December 2010.

The students of F.Y., S.Y., and T.Y. Biotechnology together work very hard for the success of this event.


The College has an enviable location, in Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai. Several landmarks, Business Districts and waters of Arabian Sea are at close proximity.

The College is easily accessible both by train (from Churchgate and CST) and bus.

The well-known Jehangir Art Gallery is across the street as also entrance to the Museum.

Notable alumni

Jamshetji Tata, an alumunus of Elphinstone College

See also


  1. ^ Judges Biography: P. N. Bhagwati Supreme Court of India
  2. ^ Roger Oldfield - Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes, Vanguard Press
  3. ^ "Artise Profile :Shernaz Patel". mumbaitheatreguide. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Early photograph, in the British Library collection, of Elphinstone College
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